Cazenovia Cazenovia and Morrisville colleges issued a lock-down notice to students in the early morning hours of Friday, Aug. 31, as an Oneida man reportedly led Madison County Sheriff’s Deputies on a chase through Madison and Onondaga counties.
According to investigators, Derik R. Churchill, 26, led police on a pursuit that started at approximately 9:50 p.m. in Madison County near Munnsville, about one hour after Sheriff’s deputies served an order of protection against the suspect, when he arrived at the protected party’s residence in the town of Stockbridge.
Churchill allegedly sent threatening text messages to the protected party, prompting a call to 911. As deputies responded, additional information was brought forth leading them to believe Churchill was armed with an automatic weapon and with night vision equipment. It was reported the protected party also received text messaged from Churchill which threatened responding officers.
An alert was issued to area law enforcement agencies as Churchill's 2000 silver Dodge Caravan was spotted in Morrisville. Cazenovia Police reported seeing Churchill in the village, and he was then tracked to New Woodstock.
The chase continued throughout the southern portion of the county, into the Onondaga County Town of Pompey and back into Madison County through Chittenango. The chase, which spanned seven townships in two counties, ended when suspect was apprehended just before 1:30 a.m. on the Cazenovia College campus.
“The pursuit forced SUNY Morrisville and Cazenovia College to lock down their campuses for safety reasons, based on decisions made at both colleges, as the pursuit continued throughout Madison County,” stated Madison County Undersheriff John Ball in a press release. “Churchill was arraigned a short time ago in the Town of Stockbridge Court before Judge Daniel Vineall on initial charges of first-degree criminal contempt, a Class E felony and second-degree aggravated harassment, a Class A misdemeanor. Several other charges are forthcoming.”