Fleeing suspect hits patrol car, crashes into tree

EVANS — A suspect wanted by the Erie County Sheriff’s Office attempted to flee but ended up crashing into a tree.

According to the Evans Police Department, on Sunday at 12:50 a.m., officers observed a vehicle on Erie Road that was wanted by the Erie County Sheriff’s Department in several other jurisdictions for fleeing officers and reckless driving.

According to Evans police, the vehicle proceeded through a red light at the intersection of Lake Street and Erie Road, then made a right turn onto Prospect Street, where the vehicle then continued fleeing and failed to stop at several stop signs on local streets. Police said the vehicle then nearly struck a vehicle traveling eastbound on Erie Road, unsafely passed a vehicle and failed to stop at a stop sign at Herr Road and Lakeshore Road.

Police deployed stop sticks at the intersection of Lake Street and Lakeshore Road, where the vehicle also failed to stop at the stop sign. The vehicle veered left to avoid the stop sticks and struck an Evans patrol car on the passenger front side. After striking the patrol car, the vehicle attempted to continue fleeing, but drove into the woods and struck a tree.

The operator, Michael T. Sawyer, 29, of Alden, was taken into custody, booked and sent to the Erie County Holding Center on $1,000 cash/$2,000 bond.

Sawyer was charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation: three or more open suspensions on three or more dates, third-degree unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, two counts of reckless driving, operate motor vehicle by unlicensed driver, failure to exercise due care to avoid colliding with an emergency vehicle, two counts of traffic device violation: passed right light, five counts of speed in zone, two counts of failed to stop at stop sign and two counts of moved from lane unsafely.