Driver accused of creating 'grave risk of death' in high speed pursuit through Batavia
A Batavia resident figures he missed being involved in a serious accident by one second with a car "easily going 100 mph" on Bank Street Road yesterday.
"(The car) had to swerve towards college road," David Austin told The Batavian in an email. "I thought for sure he was going to wipe out but he corrected and I could hear him accelerate. Scared me more than I have ever been. If I would have made that turn 1 second later I probably wouldn't be here."
The alleged driver of that car was James Matthew Lepore, 23, of Rio Grande Drive, North Chili.
According to the Sheriff's Office, Lepore failed to stop for a deputy who spotted his car exceeding the 55 mph speed limit on Route 33 in Stafford. The deputy pursued and the car continued into the Town of Batavia and then into the city before heading north on Route 98. There law enforcement successfully deployed a spike strip and the car was forced to a halt.
According to the arrest report, Lepore "recklessly engaged in conduct that created a grave risk of death by unlawfully fleeing a deputy in a motor vehicle and intentionally went into the opposite lane of travel causing other motorists to swerve out of the way to avoid a head-on collision, all while traveling at speeds in excess of 90 to 100 mph."
After the stop, Lepore was allegedly found in possession of an unregistered firearm and a controlled substance.
Lepore is charged with:
- Reckless endangerment in the first degree
- Criminal possession of a firearm
- Unlawful fleeing a police officer in the third degree
- Criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th
- Speed in excess of 55 mph
- Plus, 21 traffic offenses.
Lepore was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and under terms of bail reform released on his own recognizance.
The lead investigators in the case are Deputy Travis DeMuth and Investigator Kevin Forsyth. Assisting in the incident were Sgt. Andrew Hale, Investigator Howard Carlson, Investigator Joseph Loftus, Investigator Ryan DeLong, Deputy Kyle Krzemien, Deputy Josh Brabon, Deputy Kyle Tower, Deputy Andrew Mullen with K-9 "Frankie," members of Batavia PD and the State Police.