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Man accused of stealing, crashing plow truck in Canton


CANTON — Whatever allegedly possessed Jesse A. Montanye to steal a municipal pickup with a plow, the Essex County man wasn’t going to let a chain-link fence stand in his way. Or a stop sign.

It apparently took a utility pole standing in Mr. Montanye’s path before he abandoned the stolen truck and fled its wreckage early Thursday on University Avenue in Canton, village police said.

When police finally caught up with Mr. Montanye a short time later, he allegedly made one last-ditch attempt to elude their grasp, clambering out an apartment window as officers closed in.

Mr. Montanye, 21, of Newcomb, was charged with driving while intoxicated, refusal to take a breath test, third-degree criminal mischief, fourth-degree grand larceny, failure to remove debris from the highway, driving on a sidewalk, reckless driving, speed not reasonable and prudent, failure to use designated lane, moving from lane unsafely and failure to keep right, interim Canton Police Chief Victor N. Rycroft said.

Police were alerted at about 1 a.m. that a plow-equipped pickup truck had been stolen from the St. Lawrence County Highway Department lot on Park Street and that it had crashed into a utility pole on University Avenue, Mr. Rycroft said. Investigation revealed that Mr. Montanye climbed into in the 2003 Chevrolet truck owned by the village of Canton and rammed a chain link fence several times before driving it out onto Miner Street, police said.

Once through the fence, Mr. Montanye then allegedly drove the vehicle from Miner Street onto Lincoln Street. Continuing his wild ride, Mr. Montanye drove over the sidewalk and ran over a stop sign at Park Street, police said. The journey came to an abrupt halt on University Avenue, where the truck splintered a utility pole. Mr. Montanye then fled, police said.

Officers soon tracked him to an apartment on Dies Street. But as police approached the building, Mr. Montanye allegedly scrambled out a window at the back of the building. Officers captured him in the back yard.

The truck sustained major body damage, according to police documents, and its plow had been broken.

Village Superintendent Brien E. Hallahan on Thursday afternoon said he did not yet have a cost estimate on damage to the truck, but there is a chance it was effectively totalled in the wreck, he said.

The truck had been parked in the county’s lot after a village driver took it there for a vehicle swap while working to clear the night’s heavy, wet snow, Mr. Hallahan said. Mr. Montanye apparently found the keys in the truck’s cup holder, he added.

Mr. Montanye was arraigned before Canton Justice Christopher R. Curley and released pending a later appearance. Additional charges may be pending, Mr. Rycroft said.

Canton police were assisted by the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department, SUNY Canton police, U.S. Border Patrol and St. Lawrence University security.

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