A motorcyclist led police on a high-speed chase that reached 100 mph Thursday, after dragging a city officer through the 7-Eleven parking lot from his motorcycle, according to the Cortland Police Department.
The city officer sustained minor injuries, police said.
The chase that involved all four police forces in the County began about 1:45 a.m., reported city police. An alert city sergeant was on the lookout for Samuel C. Merihew Jr, 49, of 3944 Piety Ridge Road Marathon, as an arrest warrant was issued against him for violating parole, said Lt. Michael Strangeway.
Police were told earlier that Merihew was frequently visiting a residence on Washington Street on a Harley Davidson motorcycle with a handlebar bag, Strangeway said. Officers were also told he may have a handgun, he said.
The sergeant spotted Merihew riding the motorcycle, recognized the Harley Davidson by its description, and decided to approach him when Merihew pulled into the 7-Eleven parking lot at 76 North Main St., Strangeway said.
“A sergeant decided it was worth a second look,” he said.
When the sergeant questioned Merihew, he gave the officer a false name and disobeyed an order to keep his hands in sight by reaching into his inside jacket pocket, Strangeway said.
Fearing Merihew would pull out the handgun he was rumoured to have, the sergeant grabbed Merihew’s arm, he said. Merihew quickly put his motorcycle in gear and sped off, Strangeway said. In the sudden peel out of the parking lot, the sergeant became entangled in Merihew’s jacket and was dragged 30 or 40 feet, he said.
The sergeant knees and elbow were skinned as he was dragged along, but he sustained no other injuries, Strangeway said.
From the 7-Eleven, Merihew led police on a chase through the city to Truxton, then through Homer, doubling back to Cortlandville and the city again, then through Polkville and then south towards Marathon, said Strangeway.
County Sheriff’s Officers cornered him in a Freetown corn field next to the Town Highway Garage, said Capt. Rob Derksen.
The pursuit lasted about 45 minutes, Strangeway said.
City police charged Merihew with first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree assault, both felonies. He was also charged with third-degree unlawfully fleeing a police officer and obstruction of governmental administration, misdemeanors, as well as “numerous” vehicle and traffic violations.
The Cortland County Sheriff’s Office is also filing charges against Merihew and they will likely be announced Tuesday, said Derksen.
Merihew was remanded without bail at arraignment and is scheduled to appear at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday in City Court, according to Cortland County Correctional Facility records.