UPDATE: 12/17/2021  8:46am  An eyewitness to part of the chase told "WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning" that she witnessed four Utica Police cars in pursuit of the stolen emergency vehicle near the corner of Genesee Street and Herkimer.

The witness was driving behind a white van and stated that the emergency vehicle "clipped the white van in front of me."  She said that "...three or four police vehicles behind the Utica Fire EMS truck continued their chase west in the eastbound lane." Other police vehicles, she said, took a different route to follow the correct flow of traffic.   "Police," she said, "did a great job of trying to keep the public safe."

Original Story:

A Utica man is under arrest for the fourth time today after defying expectations and allegedly stealing a Utica Fire Truck.

Utica Police say that at approximately 11:40am today they were notified that Utica Fire Department vehicle "Rescue 2" had been stolen while it was parked on the 500 block of Bleecker Street in Utica.  Rescue 2 is a multi-purpose, multi-response vehicle.

An undercover officer noticed Rescue 2 about two blocks away, on the 700 block of Bleecker Street and followed it until UPD cars could try to stop it.  When they approached Rescue 2 the driver allegedly began leading police on a pursuit.

A scene resembling something out of "Fast and Furious" ensued.  Once the stolen fire truck and police cars reached North Genesee Street they driver, police say, began driving north in the southbound lanes, hitting two cars, and continuing.  According to a written release from the UPD, "Thankfully, during these collisions neither of the motorists were injured.  The vehicle continued to flee until its reckless actions caused the Utica Police Department to terminate the pursuit."

Picking up for the UPD, a New York State Police trooper in the area began a pursuit onto River Road, then Route 12, and then the New York State Thruway.  Authorities say that Rescue 2, then got stuck in a grassy area about "a mile west of Exit 31."  The driver abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot toward the area near Walmart.

"Within moments" the suspect was taken into custody and then turned over to the UPD.

Investigators determined that the suspect was 29-year-old Brandon Hatton of Utica.  Hatton, who has a distinctive spider tattoo near his neck, was recognized by police.  The UPD says, "Once his identity was confirmed, we knew Hatton to have been charged, booked, and released on three previous occasions just on December 16th alone."

Brandon Hatton Photo Credit Utica Police Department December 2021
Brandon Hatton Photo Credit Utica Police Department December 2021

According to the UPD the following events preceded the alleged theft of Rescue 2:

"The first incident occurred at Tiny’s Bar and Grill on State St when he illegally made entry into the establishment by breaking a window.  During that incident he was charged with Criminal Trespass and Criminal Mischief in the 4th degree.

After being released on Appearance Tickets he then proceeded to enter several vehicles in the Mohawk St area and steal items.  Owners of those vehicles caught him the act, and when Police got into the area to attempt to take him into custody Hatton fled on foot.  After a brief pursuit Hatton was taken into custody and booked on charges of Obstructing Governmental Administration in the second degree and Petit Larceny.  He was then charged and booked on another count of Petit Larceny and released on Appearance Tickets."

Among the charges that Hatton will be facing for the incident involving Rescue 2 are:

  • Grand Larceny in the 2nd Degree
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the 2d Degree
  • Reckless Endangerment
  • Criminal Mischief (charge is pending receipt of additional information)
  • Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident

In addition, police say that there are various New York Vehicle and Traffic Law violations and "additional charges are likely."

Once the charges are complete Hatton will be brought for arraignment.

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: This post is for informational purposes and is based largely on information received from the Utica Police Department.  All arrested persons are innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.  No additional information was available at the time of this posting.]

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