Watertown police chase ends in manslaughter charge

Francis Morgia II / NYS Police

A Watertown man is facing several charges, including manslaughter, after allegedly fleeing from a robbery and causing a car crash which killed a 75-year-old woman and injured a Syracuse police officer.

State Police say around 5:00 pm Monday 48-year-old Francis Morgia II forcefully robbed an 84-year-old woman of her purse at the Kohl's Department Store in Watertown. Investigators say Morgia pushed the woman to the ground and grabbed her purse before he fled the store and then the property.

Police told CNY Central that Glen Park Police Chief Larry Jobson observed Morgia's vehicle on East Main Street in the Village of Brownville. Police say Morgia failed to pull over to the side of the road, and lead officers on a car chase through the Village Brownville and onto Route 342 in the town of Town of Pamelia before losing control of the car and crashing into another.

After crashing into the stopped vehicle, police say Morgia fled on foot into a wooded area where troopers later apprehended him.

Police say one person was killed and three others were injured in the crash. Shirley Hammond, 75, died at Samaritan Medical Center as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. Police say an autopsy is scheduled to determine the cause and manner of Hammond's death.

One of the people injured in the crash was off-duty Syracuse Police Officer Autumn Tharrett. Officer Tharrett, 25, was airlifted to Upstate University Hospital by Air-1 helicopter, where she is reportedly in stable condition with a head injury.

William K. Rafferty, 40, and Jeffrey C. Hammond, 46, were taken to Samaritan Medical Center, where they were treated and released.

Morgia has been charged with second degree manslaughter, unlawfully fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, and third degree robbery. He is being held at the Jefferson County Jail on $75,000 cash bail or $150,000 bond.