Homer man who injured an officer pleads guilty to charges from high-speed chase

Samuel C. Merihew, 49 of Homer, in Cortland County Court on Tuesday. (Photo Source: Kevin L. Smith).

A Homer man pleaded guilty to multiple charges in Cortland County Court on Tuesday in relation to the man leading police on a high-speed chase through five different county municipalities on his motorcycle last October.

The charges covered in the guilty plea by Samuel C. Merihew, Jr., 49, of Coldbrook Road in the town of Homer, are:

  • Second-degree assault
  • Third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance
  • Aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle (a misdemeanor)
  • Third-degree unlawfully fleeing a police officer (a misdemeanor)
  • First-degree reckless endangerment (a felony)

District attorney Patrick Perfetti recommended up to six years in prison each for Merihew’s criminal possession of a controlled substance (plus three years of post-release supervision) and second-degree assault (plus five years of post-release supervision) charges.

Perfetti suggested that the recommended sentences “not be concurrent with each other.” Defense attorney Kevin Jones agreed with the proposed sentences, but added charges should run concurrently with each other.

On Oct. 22, 2020, Merihew reached 100 miles-per-hour on his 2001 Harley Davidson motorcycle in his attempt to flee from the city of Cortland police. A city police officer tried to stop Merihew in a 7-Eleven parking lot by reaching for his arm, but was entangled in his jacket. Merihew dragged the officer 30-to-40 feet, but the officer only suffered minor injuries.

Merihew’s high-speed pursuit lasted 45 minutes and went through the city, Truxton, Homer, the city again, then Polkville and Freetown. New York state police, Cortland County sheriff’s deputies, the Homer village police department and city police joined forces to stop Merihew. Merihew was arrested in Freetown.

“High-speed pursuits should be taken seriously,” Perfetti said in his report on Tuesday in county court.

Police later discovered Merihew’s license for the motorcycle was revoked. Merihew was also in possession of a “large amount of drugs,” according to a report of his arrest last year.

Perfetti noted that Merihew, who has been in and out of prison since 1991, has been convicted of five felonies in the past. Merihew currently has a pending second-degree assault charge from 2011 in Oswego County.

Merihew will be remanded until his official sentencing on the morning of Friday, Nov. 5.