Police: Pursuit suspect threatened to kill officers
A Milton man suspected in a police pursuit over the weekend appeared in court Monday. Authorities say the suspect had weapons and threatened to kill officers. Police say this suspect is no stranger to them. The chase went across much of the northwestern part of the state. Now, we're learning he was stopped because he was not supposed to be behind the wheel in the first place.
"Quoting from the affidavit, it's alleged that he said that if the officer tried to stop him he would shoot him or any other officer," Vt. Superior Court Judge David Fenster said.
Death threats were just a part of the accusations against Philip Katon, who was arraigned via video Monday from a St. Albans jail. Police say the 50-year-old Milton man led them on a lengthy pursuit over the weekend.
"Mr. Katon came close to hitting a pedestrian. The pedestrian had to back up quickly to avoid being hit," the judge said.
Prosecutors say Katon was driving a Chevy Blazer. Police first tried to stop the SUV Saturday after an officer recognized the driver as Katon, who allegedly has a suspended license-- something his public defender says Katon denies.
"He feels that the Milton Police received incorrect information about the status of his driver's license," Katon's public defender said.
Authorities say Katon took off, leading them on a more than 20-mile pursuit. Police say he hit speeds that doubled the limit and put other drivers in danger.
"Crossing the double-yellow line in order to pass vehicles," the judge said.
Authorities say Katon continued on the SUV's rims after hitting spike strips. During the pursuit, cops say he also threatened to kill officers if they did not call off the chase.
"A very scary incident for police involved, and fortunately there were no police harmed," Vt. State Police Tpr. Jay Riggen said.
The pursuit finally came to an end in East Highgate, where police say Katon barricaded himself in the SUV with a muzzleloader pistol and knives. But officers were able to smash his window and took him into custody. Now charged with eluding a law enforcement officer, criminal threatening and driving with a suspended license, the judge set Katon's bail at $1,500.
"I have no money and no bail," Katon said in court. "And nobody's got money to bail me out."
Police say Katon also has a history of assaulting officers.
He entered pleas of not guilty to the three charges he faces after the pursuit.