Tow truck chase suspect facing assault, grand larceny charges, deputies say

Christopher Ricks/ Onondaga County Sheriff's Office

The man accused of leading authorities on a chase through Syracuse in a stolen tow truck was arraigned Thursday inside Upstate University Hospital, where he's being treated for injuries that deputies say he sustained in the chase.

Christopher Ricks, 26, of Syracuse is facing attempted assault, assault and grand larceny charges for the chase, which saw several others injured, several vehicles struck and gunfire in multiple locations, according to Onondaga County Sheriff Eugene Conway. The sheriff's office says more charges are expected to come as the investigation moves forward.

On Tuesday Conway said Ricks was shot once in his lower extremities. Ricks' injuries were described as non life-threatening.

The pursuit saw the involvement of both the Syracuse Police Department and then the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office. Along the way, several vehicles were struck and law enforcers fired their weapons at four separate scenes while attempting to stop the tow truck. Conway said on more than one occasion, Ricks allegedly put the tow truck into reverse to intentionally ram into his pursuers.

The sheriff's office identified three deputies who fired shots while trying to stop the pursuit Monday; Detective Joe Ingram and Deputy Danielle Podejko are on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues, the sheriff's office said.

A third law enforcer, Officer Rodney Fitzgerald of the Syracuse Police Department, is also on paid leave per department policy, Syracuse Police announced Thursday.

At least four other people were injured during the pursuit; three law enforcement officers, one from the Syracuse Police Department and two from the sheriff's office, and at least one civilian, Conway said. The deputies have since been treated and released, but the civilian's condition was not known as of Tuesday, according to Conway.

At least nine civilian vehicles were damaged, as well as two Syracuse Fire Department trucks, three sheriff's office vehicles and three Syracuse Police Department vehicles, Conway said.

The pursuit came to an end when the tow truck collided with a Syracuse Fire Department firetruck, which had responded to the area of the Rescue Mission on Gifford Street because parked vehicles in the area had been struck, Conway said. At that point, there was a struggle between a Syracuse Police Officer, a sheriff's deputy and Ricks, who was taken into custody, according to Conway.

Conway's office is handling the investigation into the majority of the incident, while Syracuse Police are handling the investigation into one of the shots fired incidents.

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