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Man led car chase to avoid another arrest, Watertown police allege

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Jeremy M. Fanelli-Cressman had served four prison terms since 1999, so the fear of again facing a felony arrest was his apparent motive Thursday afternoon for allegedly leading a chase that exceeded 100 mph, according to Watertown police.

The 35-year-old ex-convict, of 825 Lawrence St., who was taken into custody later that night in St. Lawrence County, faces indictment on charges of third-degree criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance and 13 charges lodged Monday in connection with the chase. City police charged him with unlawfully fleeing police with a vehicle, reckless driving, speeding at 80 mph on Watertown streets, speeding at 100-plus mph in 55-mph zones north of the city, failing to keep right and eight stop sign infractions. He is being held in the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building, with bail set at $50,000, on the indictment. He is due for arraignment in City Court on the traffic counts.

Police said the chase began at 3:14 p.m. on Coffeen Street, where a detective with the Metro-Jeff Drug Task Force motioned for a passing patrol to pull over a car driven by Mr. Fanelli-Cressman. The suspect saw the detective’s action, police said, and accelerated. He then led Officer Peter C. Keck on a chase down Van Duzee, West Main, Morrison, Burdick, Hoard, Lansing, Katherine, Mill, West Lynde and LeRay streets, police said.

They exited the city, going north on Route 11, then onto Bush Road over to Goulds Corners Road, where at 3:22 p.m. a city police sergeant ordered the chase suspended because of the dangers to be encountered with a high volume of traffic. By that time, the lead car had just missed having three collisions, and had forced several motorists to take evasive action, police said.

Mr. Fanelli-Cressman drove to the home of an acquaintance in the town of Fine, according to a Task Force officer. There, he ditched the car in a wooded area, and he was tracked in the woods by state troopers, conservation officers, St. Lawrence County sheriff’s deputies, parole officers and Task Force members. He was captured at about 8:30 p.m.

The indictments charge him with possessing and selling cocaine on two occasions early in March.

Mr. Fanelli-Cressman’s most recent prison stay ended with a parole release on Dec. 6. He was sentenced in January 2011 to 18 months for fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

His prior sentences, all from Jefferson County Court, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website, were:

nApril 1999, fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and attempted third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, discharged in November 1999.

n December 2000, attempted third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, discharged in June 2004.

n December 2005, fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, discharged in November 2009.

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