Man steals tow truck, leaves 'path of destruction' during high speed chase in Syracuse

Tow truck leads police on high speed chase through Syracuse, witnesses say

Syracuse Police and the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene of a crash that happened at the end of a high speed chase in the city.

Deputies at the scene say a AAA tow truck had stopped to help someone in the city just before 1 p.m. when a man jumped in and stole the truck. This happened on Townsend Street near East Laurel Street, according to the Onondaga County Sheriff's office.

From there he led city police on a chase and went outside the city limits by Shop City, which prompted the Sheriff's Office to pursue him. Deputies chased the tow truck back into the city.

The tow truck refused to stop, deputies said; at one point, officers fired their weapons at the two truck as it tried to get away in the area of Gifford Street. Our crew at the crash scene noted there appeared to be several bullet holes in the windshield of the tow truck.

A deputy at the scene said the tow truck continued after the shots were fired, colliding with a police vehicle and several other civilian vehicles before also stricking a firetruck that had responded to the scene on Dickerson Street, finally coming to a stop.

The driver of the stolen tow truck was shot, the deputy said, and was treated at the scene for a gunshot wound and transported to Upstate University Hospital. Two deputies who were inside the police vehicle were evaluated for minor injuries.

One Syracuse Police officer was transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries and has since been discharged, police said.

AAA issued the following statement about the incident:

This afternoon, a AAA truck was stolen and the perpetrator led police on a chase through the streets of Syracuse, N.Y. The incident began when a AAA driver was responding to a flat tire call on North Townsend Street. He was changing the tire on the side of the road when the AAA vehicle was stolen. AAA is aware of the fact that the perpetrator left a path of destruction and our thoughts are with those who were along the route of the stolen vehicle. We are working with Central New York police agencies at this time.

The Sheriff's department will handle the main events leading up to the pursuit, including the scene at the end of the pursuit. They will also handle the weapon discharge by their deputy, according to Syracuse Police.

Syracuse Police will in turn handle the accident scene on Bellevue Ave, and the investigation into their police officer discharging his weapon, police said.

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