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Fort Covington man tries to evade police so he isn’t in jail when baby is born

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MASSENA - A Fort Covington man told police he refused to stop for police and drove at speeds of over 100 miles per hour with his eight-month pregnant girlfriend in the front seat and the couple’s 15-month-old child in the backseat from Main Street in Massena to Cook Road in Akwesasne Thursday afternoon because he was aware there was a warrant out for his arrest and feared he would still be in jail when his baby is born next month.

The chase ended when he struck a St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police vehicle when he was trying to get onto Cook Road to get onto the so-called Canadian side of the transborder reservation. A second tribal police sport utility vehicle was then able to maneuver the 2005 Mercury Marquis being operated by Eric J. Sisto, 21, of 499 Frye Road, Fort Covington, into the ditch.

Massena-based state police charged Sisto with two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, unlawfully fleeing a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief and endangering the welfare of a child. He was arraigned by Massena Town Justice Gerald P. Sharlow and sent to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility with bail set at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond following that started at just after 1 p.m. when he pulled onto Main Street from Water Street in front of an unmarked village police department sports utility vehicle, forcing the police officer to slam on his brakes to avoid a collision.

Sgt. Adam J. Love said he followed the vehicle as it turned from Main Street onto one way Center Street and Parker Avenue before activating his red lights. He said the vehicle failed to pull over and drove through a red light to get on to the Parker Avenue Bridge, he said, noting he observed the driver and passenger yelling at one another point.

Sgt. Love, in his statement, said the vehicle was in the right hand turn lane as it approached the East Orvis Street intersection and then made an evasive erratic left hand turn through the intersection forcing several vehicles to take evasive action to avoid a collision. The village police sergeant said he then turned his red lights off and followed the vehicle at a safe distance. He said he observed the Mercury Marquis pass several vehicles on the left in a no passing zone on East Orvis Street and then use the straight lane to make a left hand turn onto Route 37, nearly striking a vehicle making a left hand turn in the proper lane.

He said the vehicle then headed eastbound on Route 37 at a high rate of speed, and he had the village police dispatcher share information with state police and tribal police about the incident.

Sisto, in a statement he provided to a state police investigator, said he had just left Key Bank when he had his interaction with village police and observed the red and blue lights flashing on the grill of the SUV that was following his vehicle. “I made a right hand turn and took off because I thought there is a warrant out for me, and I did not want to turn myself in until after Chelsea ((M. Jacobs, 18, his girlfriend) has the baby. Chelsea told me to just pull over, but I was zoned out. I drove to state Route 37 because I was going to try to make it home to Snye,” he said in his statement to police.

The Fort Covington man told troopers he noticed a second police vehicle with its lights activated, state trooper, pull behind his vehicle as he passed the St. Lawrence Centre mall. “I knew then that it was go all or go home so I drove on the back road going home from the mall,” he said, noting he was able to avoid a state police roadblock and drive back up another sideroad back onto Route 37.

Troopers ticketed Sisto for reaching speeds of 70 mph in a 55 mph zone on North Raquette River Road and 66 mph in a 45 mph on North Raquette, 55 mph in a 40 mph zone on state Route 37C. 80 mph in a 35 mph zone on Route 37, 90 in a 45 mph zone on Route 37 and 105 mph in a 55 mph zone on state Route 37.

“I made it on Route 37 to the reservation, and the cops tried to block me in again, but I was able to go around them without hitting anybody. I made it to (Truck Stop) #9 and was going to turn on Cook Road, but I missed it so I went around #9 and tried to get back on Cook Road, but the cops were there in front of me,” he said in his statement.

“I tried to get around them, but I hit the Charger and then a tribal SUV pit maneuvered me into the ditch,” he added.

Sisto told police he was very sorry for his actions. “I know what I did was dumb, but I just wanted to make it to my child’s birth,” he told troopers, noting the vehicle he was operating was owned by his grandfather, William Mitchell.

Ms. Jacobs, in the statement she provided police, said she had begged her boyfriend to stop as he attempted to evade the police. She said she became extremely upset as the incident came to an end.

“We got to the #9 gas station, and he tried cutting through it to Cook Road and ran into a couple of cop cars, and we ended up on the side of the road. Then I got even more scared when the tribal truck hit the door by where my was seated. The cops came up, surrounded us and started smashing the windows out. Eric got pulled out, and I jumped in the back seat with my baby. I was so scared I was getting hurt or my baby would. I wish he would have sopped and not put me and my baby in danger,” she said in her statement to police.

State police and village police combined ticketed Sisto for more than two dozen vehicle and traffic law offenses as well as a misdemeanor count of reckless driving.

The Bombay Town Court had an outstanding warrant for an alleged probation violation on an endangering the welfare of a child charge.

State police also charged Sisto with the misdemeanor reckless driving charge and ticketed him for unsafe passing on the left, failure to keep right, three stop sign violations and using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. He was issued three tickets for speeding over 55 mph and foru tickets for speed in zone.

Village police also charged Sisto with a misdemeanor count of reckless driving and ticketed him for making an unsafe turn, driving left of pavement markings on three occasions, making an unsafe lane change, failure to yield the right of way at a stop sign and illegally passing a red light.

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