Virginia man charged in cross-county pursuit involving stolen construction vehicle

West Seneca

WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) — West Seneca police took a Virginia man into custody following a bizarre pursuit that stretched across Erie County.

According to police, Ali Zahedi, who turned 26 on Tuesday, was seen erratically driving a large construction vehicle on Wednesday, around 12:40 a.m.

An officer tried to pull Zahedi over, but he refused, continuing to swerve in and out of the oncoming lanes, slightly above the speed limit.

While the chase continued, it was discovered that the vehicle had been stolen from Niagara Falls, and was involved in a separate hit-and-run case in the Town of Niagara.

Moving through Cheektowaga and Amherst, the vehicle eventually suffered mechanical failures and stopped, but Zahedi wouldn’t get out.

Officers say they were forced to smash out the driver’s side window and drag him out.

Resistant to officers’ demands, they say Zahedi fought with them, but was subsequently handcuffed. Although he refused other demands at the police department, officers were able to learn that he recently traveled to the Buffalo area from Virginia, and had similar incidents with Niagara Falls police, they say.

To police, Zahedi appeared agitated and confused. They say that due to his odd behavior, he was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.

Zahedi was charged with a slew of crimes, including criminal possession of a stolen vehicle, unlawfully fleeing a police officer, reckless driving, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and 10 traffic infractions.

No officers were hurt.

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