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Fugitive who smashed into house pleads not guilty to three charges

A Buffalo man with 24 suspensions on his driver’s license who had been sought by police for nearly a year after he was charged with felony DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and driving 94 mph on the Kensington Expressway was finally arraigned Wednesday.

The arraignment came 11 days after police found Anthony Watson critically injured in his pickup truck, which had crashed into a home after a police chase.

Watson, 36, who had been in the jail ward at Erie County Medical Center, walked into Erie County Court with his head bandaged and pleaded innocent to the three charges, which stemmed from his arrest at 11 a.m. New Year’s Day 2013 on the Kensington. Judge Michael F. Pietruszka ordered him held without bail.

Pietruszka originally had been scheduled to arraign Watson, who had been released on $3,500 bail in City Court the day after his arrest, last May 15 following his indictment May 7.

But Watson failed to show up, and an indictment warrant was issued.

Police finally found him April 12 when they pulled over his truck on Genesee Street at Newburgh Avenue after they noticed him driving erratically. When the officers got out of their patrol car, he sped off and struck a house at Newburgh and East Delavan Avenue a short time later, police said.

Police are awaiting the results of Watson’s blood alcohol test before filing any charges in the chase and crash.

The crash critically injured both Watson and his passenger, his brother-in-law, Walter “Billy” Jackson, 45, who was listed Wednesday in serious condition in the trauma intensive care unit at ECMC.

The two were returning from the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls when the crash occurred, Jackson’s family said.