Be careful when getting involved when you see a crime, police warn

By Joleen Ferris

(WKTV) -  Four men driving on north Genesee Street in Utica around 9 p.m. Monday  noticed a car driving erratically. The driver hit a curb, turning into the Wendy's parking lot to inspect his blown tire.

The men called 911. But they didn't stop there.  Fearing what could happen if the driver continued on, they pulled their car in front of his, walked over, opened the door and took his keys, waiting for police to arrive.

"According to the report, once they stopped he asked what he did wrong and actually got out of the car, sat on the curb and waited until the police got there," said UPD Lt. Steve Hauck.  When police got there, they found that driver Johnathan Jones, 34, of Ilion, was drunk, with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent.  

If Jones was combative, or worse yet armed, there may have been a much different outcome. This is why, as a rule, police advise people who see a crime being committed to call 911 and leave it at that.

"We go by the majority and obviously we wouldn't encourage somebody to act out like that to try to protect other people. It's a wonderful thing that they did and it was a great gesture and I think that they're being good citizens. However, for us, we always err on the side of caution. We don't want anybody to get hurt. This situation, it worked out," says Hauck.

It worked out, and -- acknowledges Hauck -- lives may have been saved.

Jones is charged with two counts of misdemeanor DWI.


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