Motorcyclist killed in West Elmira crash, previously involved in police chase


WEST ELMIRA, NY (WETM) – One person died after Sunday night’s motorcycle crash on W. Water Street and Larchmont Road in West Elmira.

According to the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office, James Thigpen, 36, of Spencer, was pronounced dead at the scene after hitting a vehicle and being thrown from the motorcycle.

18 News was on the scene as CPR was carried out over Thigpen for approximately 10 minutes on Sunday evening.

According to the Sheriff’s Office at around 7:43 p.m., a deputy from the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office was patrolling National Road 352, in the Elmira town area, and observed a 2018 Honda motorcycle moving east, entering the city of Elmira at a high speed.

The deputy followed the motorbike east on W. Water Street and learned that the motorbike had already been reported stolen out of the town of Ithaca. The deputy attempted to carry out a road check with the motorcycle near the town of Elmira, on the jurisdictional line of the town of Elmira. The motorcycle slowed to a near stop before turning around and driving west at high speed on W. Water Street, against the flow of one-way traffic.

The deputy did not chase the motorcycle and radioed the communications center, informing them that the motorcycle had fled the stop. The motorcycle continued west on W. Water Street and fatally struck a 2016 Ford Fusion driving east on W. Water Street.

The driver of the Ford Fusion suffered only minor injuries as a result of the collision.

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the West Elmira Police Department, New York State Police, West Elmira Fire Department and the Erway Ambulance.

Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who may have seen the motorcyclist traveling west on East Water
between Promenade Demarest and chemin Larchmont, please contact the Criminal Investigations Division at 607-737-2933.

About Frances R. Smith

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