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Police: Kirkwood crash suspect is 25-year-old Florida man

KIRKWOOD, N.Y. (WBNG) — The latest on the search for, and arrest of, a man who managed to evade police for hours on Tuesday after crashing on Interstate 81 in Kirkwood.

9 p.m.

Authorities in Florida say the man who allegedly crashed a stolen vehicle in Kirkwood had been arrested back in March for burglary.

According to Douglas Johnson, from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in Sarasota, Florida, says 25-year-old John Mehne, who is from Sarasota and has ties to the Ithaca area, was arrested by police on March 17.

Johnson tells 12 News that Mehne was arrested in the city of Sarasota and charged with burglary. Johnson did not have any other details on the case and referred 12 News to the Sarasota Police Department.

12 News reached out to Sarasota Police Department, but the department has not responded.

Mehne faces charges of criminal possession of stolen property, burglary, robbery and aggravated cruelty to animals in relation to Tuesday’s events.

2:30 p.m.

In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, New York State Police said the suspect has been identified as 25-year-old John Mehne. Police say Mehne has a Sarasota, Florida address and also has ties to the Ithaca area.

According to Captain Scott Heggelke, an investigation found that Mehne crashed a stolen Audi into a guide rail on Interstate 81 northbound around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday. Police say he got out of the vehicle, which was facing the wrong way in the driver lane. According to Heggleke, once traffic slowed down, Mehne tried to get out of the area by jumping onto the back of a van. Authorities say the van driver sped up and Mehne jumped off that vehicle and onto the back of a pickup truck for about a mile, until that vehicle stopped abruptly. That’s when Mehne ran off into the woods, according to police, and the search began.

“Shortly after 4 p.m. we received a call from a complainant, a resident, on Duell Road, right off of Colesville Road, where he came home from work and he found a suspect in his chicken coop and said ‘Hey, what are you doing there?’ and he replied that he was killing the chickens. He grabbed an ax and started chasing the homeowner and threatened to harm the homeowner as well,” Captain Heggelke explained. “The homeowner ran, fled, and then the suspect jumped on the ATV that the homeowner had up there on his property and took off westbound, where we found it abandoned.”

Investigators then focused their search in the area of Duell Road, Fox Hollow Road, Colesville Road and Springer Road.

“A short while later, we received another call from a resident on Springer Road, who said that there was a white male with blonde hair that was naked in his chicken coop. So, then we converged on that area and shortly after that a couple of sheriff’s deputies with the assistance of a Binghamton Police Department K9, took him into custody after he was bitten by the dog,” Heggelke said.

As police were interviewing neighbors in the area, they say they learned Mehne burglarized a home and killed a family dog during the process. Police say a different property was also damaged when Mehne attempted to get under a deck in the Springer Road area.

State police ask anyone who may have damage to their property, or may have seen anything out of the ordinary, to call (607) 775-1241.

Heggelke says Mehne has been charged with criminal possession of stolen property, burglary, robbery and aggravated cruelty to animals.

Wednesday’s news conference can be viewed on the WBNG 12 News Facebook page.

10:38 a.m.

We’ll learn more Wednesday afternoon about the suspect who managed to evade police for several hours after they say he crashed a stolen vehicle Tuesday on Interstate 81.

Tuesday’s coverage: Man who crashed stolen car in Kirkwood in custody, troopers say

Troop C Bureau of Criminal Investigations Captain Scott Heggelke will take questions from the media at 2 p.m. Wednesday regarding the search for the man. 12 News will bring you live coverage of the news conference.

Click here to watch it live on

Click here to watch it live on the WBNG 12 News Facebook page.

WBNG Staff

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