Sheriff identifies tractor-trailer driver fatally shot in Geneseo after tense chase

Joshua Blessed Joshua Blessed

Updated: May 28, 2020 08:02 PM
Created: May 27, 2020 11:07 PM

GENESEO, N.Y. (WHEC) — A tractor-trailer driver from Virginia is dead after deputies say he led them on a chase through Genesee and Livingston counties, which ended with gunshots.

The shootout started as a traffic stop in LeRoy around 9 p.m. Wednesday. Authorities said they tried to stop the driver for speeding. The truck appeared to stop, but investigators say it took off toward Batavia, then back to LeRoy, into Pavilion and onto I-390. The Livingston County Sheriff's Office then became involved. 


Livingston County Sheriff Thomas Dougherty says the driver, 58-year-old Joshua Blessed (nee Sergeia Jourev) from Harrisonburg, Virginia, fired at deputies while weaving in and out of lanes toward patrol cars. The tractor-trailer had already crashed into a few police vehicles. Deputies used spike strips to stop the driver, but he kept going.

Dougherty says he's never witnessed an incident like this in his career. 

"He had no regard for human life," he said.

The chase ended at Lakeville Road near the Wegmans in Geneseo, where deputies shot at the cab of the truck. They also had an armored vehicle en route.

No law enforcement officers or civilians were injured in the incident according to deputies, though there were close calls.

It was a dangerous scene that Cecilia Watters found herself in the middle of at the exit off 390.

"I was scared to death. My husband texted me and said he is near you," Watters said. "I never heard he had a gun until my husband text me and said he just shot at cops."

Another witness, Erika O'Brien, spoke to News10NBC's Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean about a video she posted to Facebook, capturing some gunfire between the truck driver and law enforcement in Geneseo.

"I think it's amazing that the truck driver did not hurt anybody," O'Brien said. "He could've easily taken that truck and driven through a McDonald's or something and killed a lot of people. He could've shot people as he drove past other vehicles. I'm glad that it ended the way it did. Unfortunately, someone lost their life, but I think the police officers saved a lot of people's lives."

News10NBC found some videos of Blessed on social media. Watch the video in the player below to see parts of them:

Follow Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean on Twitter for the latest developments. 

Copyright 2020 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

Comment on Facebook