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Tractor-trailer pursuit that ended in driver's death began with traffic stop

Charles Molineaux
Updated: May 28, 2020 09:01 PM
Created: May 28, 2020 08:57 PM

LE ROY, N.Y. (WHEC) — Police in Le Roy said the wild chase after a tractor-trailer that ended with the driver shot to death started with a traffic stop that took a strange turn from the start.

"He wouldn’t interact with the officer," noted Chris Hayward, Police Chief of the Village of Le Roy.

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The Livingston County Sheriff's office reported that the truck driver, identified as 58-year-old Joshua Blessed, led law enforcement on a lengthy pursuit Wednesday evening in which he rammed the tractor-trailer into several police vehicles and fired numerous shots at pursuers before deputies shot at the truck and it crashed in a Geneseo field with Blessed dead apparently from gunshot wounds.

Hayward explained that the incident started with a traffic stop just west of the center of Le Roy.  

A police officer pulled Blessed over for speeding, Hayward said, but “when he initially approached, as we normally do on traffic stops, asked for driver's license, insurance card, etc., he would not roll down his window to speak with the officer."

That prompted the officer to call for a second unit and two officers then climbed onto the outside of the cab of the tractor-trailer to look inside for any weapons, then one of them stepped down to check the vehicle's license plate.  

“That’s when the driver chose to leave the scene, with the officer still on the cab. Fortunately, he was able to jump off without injury.”  

The pursuit speeded westward on Route 5 into Stafford, then Batavia, before the truck turned back towards Le Roy. The incident brought in deputies from Genesee County then Livingston County and the state police before its violent conclusion in Geneseo.

Livingston County Sheriff Thomas Dougherty called it "a miracle" that, for all the chaos of a massive semi speeding on local roads, and all the bullets fired, no members of law enforcement and no civilians were injured in the incident.


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