Monroe County man accused of running a state trooper off the road during a high-speed chase on the New York State Thruway disposed of the case today in Syracuse with a plea under the state’s insanity law.
Jesse A. Corson, 26, of Honeoye Falls, pleaded “not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect” to a battery of charges from the April 28 incident.
He was charged with second-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree criminal mischief, third-degree unlawfully fleeing a police officer, resisting arrest, reckless driving and speeding.
Early in the case, defense lawyer Donald Kelly said Corson was in the midst of a “psychotic episode” at the time and was not acting intentionally or with depraved indifference to human life. He’d also said Corson had a history of mental health issues and could offer no explanation for his conduct in leading police on the Thruway chase.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Kasmarek said the prosecution conceded the defense had sufficient evidence to support the “not responsible” plea without subjecting Corson to a further psychiatric evaluation by a prosecution doctor.
Kasmarek reported in court that Corson apparently believed he was in a scene from “The Matrix” and that he was going to pass right through the patrol vehicle when he struck it. The prosecutor also said Corson believed he could communicate telepathically with animals and other people.
Corson was hospitalized three years ago after having a similar episode, the prosecutor said.
Corson could have faced up to seven years in state prison for a criminal conviction. He now faces a review of his condition by the state Department of Mental Health to determine if he is mentally ill and, if so, if he is a danger to himself or others.
Kelly said he expects doctors will find Corson is no threat as long as he is on his prescribed medication.
State Supreme Court Justice John Brunetti today allowed Corson to remain free until Tuesday when the defendant must surrender in court to be placed in the custody of state mental health officials until a current psychiatric evaluation can be conducted.
The defense has said Corson walked out of work at a Best Buy store that day in April, got into his 2012 pickup truck and began speeding down the Thruway for no known reason.
State police had begun chasing Corson’s pickup in Cayuga County and the chase continued through Onondaga, Madison and Oneida counties before ending in the Utica area when a tire-deflation device was used to flatten all four tires on the truck.
In passing through Onondaga County, Corson rammed Trooper Paul Noyes’ patrol car, forcing the vehicle to flip over several times off the side of the road in the town of Van Buren. The assault charge related to the injuries Noyes sustained in the crash that occurred in the vicinity of exit 39 near the New York State Fairgrounds.
Kasmarek said Noyes suffered a concussion, a back injury and multiple cuts and bruises.
The reckless endangerment charge accused Corson of jeopardizing the lives of Noyes, a couple other troopers and other motorists on the highway as he drove at speeds up to 110 mph during the incident.