Update from Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office about high-speed pursuit

WATERTOWN, NY — The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement on Aug. 1, 2022:

On August 1, 2022 at 5:40am, Jefferson County Sheriff’s patrols responded to a report of a robbery in progress at the 7-Eleven store on Factory Street in the City of Watertown. After a physical struggle with the store clerk, the suspect attempted to steal an occupied vehicle in the parking lot. With that failed attempt, the suspect ran to Mo’s Diner across the street and demanded car keys from patrons without success. He then went to Precision Towing and Auto Works where he broke through a window and entered that business. Responding Sheriff’s patrols chased the suspect on foot to Public Square where the suspect again attempted to carjack an occupied vehicle. This time he was able to enter a vehicle but was physically stopped by a Sheriff’s Sergeant. He was taken into custody, handcuffed behind his back and placed in the backseat “cage” of a sheriff’s unit. While Deputies were interviewing the carjacking victim, the suspect was able to climb through the handcuffs and into the front seat. He attempted to escape custody by driving the marked unit away from the scene. Patrols on the scene followed the suspect out Arsenal Street and onto Interstate 81 southbound where the suspect drove at a high rate of speed to the Adams exit, drove through the median and onto Route 11 northbound. Because the vehicle is equipped with an AVL (Automatic Vehicle Locator), a pursuit was not initiated. Rather, units followed behind at a distance, keeping the safety of the public and officers in mind. Remotely, the police radio in the stolen unit was disabled so radio traffic could not be monitored by the suspect.

The suspect drove back into the City of Watertown where he was stopped with “Stinger” stop sticks – a tire deflation device. A small engine fire of that patrol vehicle was put out with fire extinguishers. The suspect was taken into custody at the intersection of Gotham Street and Thompson Blvd. He is identified as 45 year old Donald C. Hutt. His last known address is the Pleasant Night Inn in West Carthage NY.

Mr. Hutt is currently being processed for numerous criminal charges through the Watertown PD and Sheriff’s Office including robbery, grand larceny, burglary and resisting arrest. No injuries were reported. The Watertown Police Department, Adams Police Department, New York State Police and Watertown DPW assisted with this investigation.

Specific charges and arraignment information will be released later today.

Sheriff Colleen M. O’Neill