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Chemung County Sheriff Deputies make harrowing arrest in Big Flats on I-86

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Knife attack leads to chaos near Exit 52a

On September 14, 2022, at approximately 9:06 a.m., Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the Econo Lodge, located at 871 Co. Rt. 64, in the Town of Big Flats, to investigate an assault complaint. Upon arrival to that location, Deputies located a female victim with a laceration to her head, which was caused by her estranged boyfriend with whom she had a Protection Order against. Prior to the Deputies arrival, the suspect identified as MICHAEL J. PETIX, age 47, no known address, had fled the scene on foot.

Deputies began to search the area for PETIX and did locate him walking east in the westbound lane of I-86. Deputies subsequently pursued him down I-86 and were able to tackle PETIX. During the course of this physical altercation, PETIX pulled a knife and Deputies disengaged him. PETIX then crossed I-86 to the eastbound lane exit 52a, leading from I-86 to the Wal-Mart plaza. As PETIX was crossing the highway, he caused several motor vehicles to either suddenly stop or swerve in an effort to miss him, which resulted in several accidents occurring. Additionally, PETIX attempted to enter several of these cars in an apparent attempt to flee and even jumped in the back of a pickup truck, but the driver refused to pull away.

After crossing the highway, Deputies and State Troopers, along with their K-9, attempted to take PETIX into custody, at which time he again displayed a knife and began cutting himself on his neck and throat area. Two tasers were then deployed, as well as OC spray, all of which were ineffective in getting PETIX to stop cutting himself. At that time, a New York State Trooper deployed his K-9 partner who was effective in getting the suspect to drop the knife and allowing officers to take him into custody. Immediate medical attention was rendered and additional medical support was requested to the scene.

PETIX was transported to an area hospital and is listed in serious condition. Several criminal charges are pending against him upon his release from the hospital. No law enforcement personnel were injured in this incident. The Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by New York State Police, Village of Horseheads Police Department, Town & Country Fire Department and Erway Ambulance.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who was passing through the area at that time and this individual attempted to get into your vehicle, to please contact the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division at 607-737-2933.

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