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Man arrested for stealing pickup truck in Evans

EVANS — At 5:58 p.m. on Sept. 6, Evans Patrolman Joseph LaRosa and Lieutenant Bradley DiMartino saw a vehicle, driven by Joseph Chowaniec, 43, of Evans, driving 66 mph in a 40 mph zone.

The patrol, in separate vehicles, attempted to stop the vehicle, which evaded pursuers and fled, at a speed of 80 mph in a 55 mph zone. Chowaniec passed several vehicles in a no-passing zone, changed lanes without signaling and sideswiped a 1996 Ford F-150. Chowaniec continued to flee from police, leaving the scene of the incident.

Police said that several vehicles in both directions were forced to take “evasive action by swerving and braking suddenly, to avoid collisions with said vehicle, at numerous times.”

When the chase entered Hamburg, the town of Hamburg Police Department responded to the area, in an effort to deploy stop sticks.

The vehicle turned into the lawn of Saint Francis High School and the driver was taken into custody by Evans and Hamburg police. “It wasn’t me,” he told police. “I wasn’t driving.”

Police said that Chowaniec had a “strong odor of alcoholic beverage on his breath, glassy eyes, slurred speech and poor motor coordination.”

During the chase, the Evans Police Department received a report that the gray 2010 Chevrolet Silverado pickup Chowaniec was driving had been stolen out of an individual’s driveway.

The subject was charged with moving from lane unsafely, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, refusal to take a breath test, failure to keep right, driving to the left of pavement markings, failing to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle, speeding and failure to signal.

The homeowner requested trespassing charges and asked for a stay-away order of protection against Chowaniec.

Chowaniec was also arrested for unauthorized use of a vehicle without the owner’s consent, grand larceny and trespassing.

Chowaniec was arraigned on Sept. 7 and remanded to the Erie County Holding Center, in lieu of $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond, with a return date of Sept. 23.

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