A Rensselaer County man was charged with felony driving while intoxicated and a slew of traffic charges after a chase early Tuesday morning that ended with a crash that damaged several vehicles, city police said.
In all, police said, six vehicles were damaged, including a police cruiser, and several people sustained what appeared to be minor injuries.
Aaron J. Elliott, 25, of Lakeside Way, Johnsonville, led police on the chase through the outer edges of the downtown area as the annual First Night celebration — which draws thousands of people into the city each year — was winding down, but the city streets were still full of people.
Elliott was arraigned Tuesday morning in City Court and sent to the Saratoga County Jail in lieu of $20,000 cash bail.
At about 1 a.m., an officer saw a driver later identified as Elliott take a left turn from Lake Avenue onto Broadway from the right-hand lane, and the officer also noticed that the vehicle’s trunk was open. The officer followed Elliott and tried to stop his vehicle on Ballston Avenue near Hamilton Street, Lt. John Catone reported.
He said that when the lights and siren were activated, Elliott steered into the nearby Pizza Hut and McDonald’s parking lots and exited onto South Broadway without stopping, nearly striking two pedestrians.
Catone said Elliott then looped around the block, striking a vehicle pulling into the Pizza Hut parking lot. He returned to South Broadway, police said, then turned east onto Circular Street. At that point, Catone said, other vehicles joined the pursuit, and Elliott allegedly ran through several stop signs.
At that point, Catone said, police slowed their pursuit, “as it was not clear to them that Elliot had total disregard for other vehicles and pedestrians on the roadway.”
Just before the intersection of Lake Avenue and Circular Street, police said, with two moving vehicles in front of him and a police cruiser approaching, Elliott slammed into the vehicle in front of him, pushing it into the vehicle in front of it. He then slammed into the driver’s door of an approaching police vehicle.
Catone said one person was transported by ambulance to Saratoga Hospital with minor injuries, and another driver and the police officer were treated at the scene. The identities of the injured and the officers were not released.
Elliott was arrested and charged with class D felony DWI, since he has prior DWI convictions within the past 10 years. He was also charged with felony first-degree reckless endangerment and misdemeanor reckless driving and fleeing a police officer, as well as numerous traffic law violations.
Elliot was being held pending arraignment.
There was also a felony arrest at 3:13 a.m. after a bar patron went into an employee-only area and began breaking glasses, police said.
Shanique T. Coore, 25, of Albany, was arrested on a charge of third-degree criminal mischief after the alleged incident at the Mine bar on Broadway.
Despite the chase arrest, Catone said this year’s First Night celebration — for which 17,000 buttons were sold — was about average for police activity.
“From 4 p.m. New Year’s Eve to 6 a.m., we normally see about 100 calls, and we were on par with that,” Catone said. “People love to party in Saratoga.”