Four-town chase ends in arrest

Elliot Bilzerian was arrested by Mass. State Police following a chase in snowy conditions. Despite charges against him being misdemeanors, his alleged vehicular evasion of police was considered so 'reckless' and such a public safety risk, a court official granted a warrant. — Courtesy Dukes County Sheriff's

An Oak Bluffs man was arrested on Dec. 4 by Massachusetts State Police, following a police chase over snowy roads through Chilmark, West Tisbury, Edgartown, and Oak Bluffs.

Elliot Bilzerian, 28, of Oak Bluffs was charged with speeding, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, marked lanes violations, and failure to stop for police. Bilzerian pleaded not guilty at an arraignment in Edgartown District Court on Dec. 5. On Dec. 4, Chilmark Police responded to a report of possible deerjacking from a motor vehicle in the vicinity of Old Farm Road, according to a police report. 

Deerjacking, according to Massachusetts Environmental Police Captain Kevin Clayton, is essentially “a violation of fair chase.” Hunting at night and hunting by means of artificial light are examples. 

Chilmark Police Officer John McCarron attempted to stop a teal green pickup truck he encountered in the area, but couldn’t get the motorist to comply. The pickup was later identified as Bilzerian’s, and a witness allegedly identified Bilzerian in the pickup, a report states. The pickup fled along North Road toward West Tisbury. A chase ensued, with Chilmark Sgt. Sean Slavin joining in another cruiser. The pickup was allegedly observed traveling at 50 mph to 60 mph. 

“Chilmark officers terminated the pursuit due to icy roadway conditions, in addition to the safety of the public, due to the vehicle’s reckless operation,” a report states. West Tisbury Police were notified. Sgt Garrison Vieira was positioned on North Road, and observed the pickup pass “in a reckless manner,” a report states. Sgt. Vieira refrained from pursuing the pickup because of the road conditions. En route to assist, Trooper Robert Branca saw the pickup pass him on Edgartown–West Tisbury Road, whereupon he turned and pursued the vehicle. The pickup turned onto Barnes Road and accelerated, a report states, reaching 60 mph and passing “multiple vehicles,” and forcing oncoming traffic to pull to the side of the road.

“The roadway at this time was covered in ice and snow, due to recent snowfall,” a report states. The pickup went through the roundabout at Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road and continued along Barnes Road, according to the report. Branca lost sight of it near Pond View Drive, which, the report indicates, Branca was aware offered a back way to Bilzerian’s residence. After an alert was issued for the pickup truck, Oak Bluffs Police Sgt. Steven Conley discovered it on Pond View Drive, unoccupied, with the keys in the ignition. 

“Outside the vehicle was an empty [Connecticut Valley Arms (CVA) brand] rifle case with 209 Shotshell Primers, triple 7 preformed pellets, and a plastic container of two Power Belt Bullets 245 GR and a blue container with hunting apparel inside,” a report states. “It was believed that Bilzerian fled on foot into a neighborhood, armed with possibly a [black powder] rifle.”

Edgartown and Oak Bluffs Police, and Massachusetts State Police, searched the woods and yards in snowy conditions, but could not locate Bilzerian. A visit to the Bilzerian residence was not fruitful either. 

The next day, West Tisbury Police took custody of a CVA-brand .50 caliber black powder rifle mounted with a CVA scope. The rifle was turned in by a Land Bank employee after being found on the shoulder of North Road in Chilmark, a report states. A pamphlet for the same CVA scope was found in the gun case outside Bilzerian’s truck, a report indicates. 

“[T]here was damage to the rifle consistent with being thrown from a vehicle [and] skidding across the pavement,” the report states. State Police took custody of the rifle. 

State Police sought an arrest warrant for Bilzerian on Dec. 4. Edgartown District Court Clerk-Magistrate Liza Williamson granted the warrant request on the grounds of public safety.

“Due to the potential of serious risk to public safety, the continuous and reckless flight of the defendant in order to avoid capture by the police, and the inability of the police to arrest post-incident as the charges are misdemeanors, the request for a warrant is hereby allowed,” Williamson wrote in a court document. Joined by Oak Bluffs Police, Troopers Branca and Dustin Shaw found Bilzerian at his Oak Bluffs residence, and arrested him. 

He was later released on $100 bail, and is slated for a pretrial hearing on Dec. 20, court records indicate. No hunting violations or weapons charges have been filed in court against Bilzerian as of Dec. 11. However, he has been ordered to turn over all firearms in his possession to Oak Bluffs Police, court records show. 

Bilzerian’s attorney, Martin Tomassian, declined to comment on the case. 

 

16 COMMENTS

  1. Where is the deer carcass?. If he indeed stole the deer, he got rid of it quickly. Were there signs of the deer in the pick up? It is prudent the cops didnt pursue for the safety for others but if they have no speed radar records and no deer and the guns are legal, they have no case. Isnt that right?

    • Not sure if you actually read the story or just posted a comment. As the story states, he has not been charged with any hunting or weapons violations. That was the original reason for the call, but he is charged with traffic violations.

      • Mr Brennan I read the story carefully. If the case is only about careless driving then there would be no need to mention guns and shell casings and why has he been asked to turn in guns to the police. If its only a traffic violation no need to mention guns at all.

        • Hey Andrew, thanks for your note. The original call was a report of deerjacking. When police investigated, the person charged fled the scene. That makes the evidence found of a discarded gun and casings relevant to both the police report and our story.

    • andrew– since there was a similar indecent about 10 years ago, there is no case, right ? As George states, he was only charged with traffic violations. Please note that speeding was not among them.
      Making things up can have the consequence that some people will actually believe erroneous information.
      And that, is not a good thing. Let’s try sticking to the facts, shall we ?
      One fact worth noting in a bigly way is that the police chose public safety over an immediate arrest and broke off the pursuit. It clearly could have ended with a much worse scenario. Once again, the police showed just how professional they are. Any one of us could have been killed.
      They seem to know when to go, and when to stand down. That is a gift to this island, and a testament to thoughtful training and compassionate , level headed officers.

        • andrew– Ok– I re- read it–
          the article says he was charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle, marked lanes violations, and failure to stop for police.
          George replied to you that in his opinion , certain evidence was relevant–
          Ok– you seem to like this guy,and his total disregard for the rule of law..
          that’s you prerogative. I think it may be a good idea to suspend his fid card-
          after all, if this guy had driven down a sidewalk and killed 12 people, you would be screaming about how we should not fund mental health care, while blaming all violent “terrorist” attacks on “mental illness”

    • Islander 2–The media reports the facts of a news story as they become available. A publication like the times has no responsibility ,authority or right to determine “proof” of innocence or guilt.
      That is up to the courts. Welcome to America…

  2. I guess you might have to question the mental stability of someone who runs from police for jacking a deer on an island where there are so many deer a bounty is being paid on some of them. Not to mention, where are you going to go. Hence, I would imagine, the necessity of turning over his firearms.
    Also, it’s not the police’s job to determine guilt or innocence, just to protect the public from what they perceive to be a crime. I mean, jeez, he ran the length of the island trying to elude the cops.

  3. The call came in from an eyewitness to the “Hunting” from the comfort of the Ttuck’s seat on Old Farm Road of North Road

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