Published in the June 23, 2016 edition
NORTH READING — North Reading Police Monday evening apprehended a disturbed individual who blocked traffic on Route 28 and drove away from responding officers, later crashing into a utility police in Reading, just south of Dandi–Lyons Ice Cream.
At 6:30 p.m., North Reading Police received multiple 911 calls for a man acting strangely and irrationally in a motor vehicle that was stopped in the intersection of Route 28 (Main Street) and Route 62, resulting in stopped traffic on a normally busy stretch of roadway.
Officers arrived minutes later to find a 67–year–old York, Maine man inside a 2009 gray Nissan Maxima sedan. As the officer approached, he observed the man screaming and pulling at his hair, exhibiting bizarre behavior. Before officers could take action, the man drove off. Fearing for the safety of the man and for other motorists and pedestrians, officers followed the driver for approximately 1.2 miles.
During the pursuit, speeds varied but were as low as 5 mph for stretches, according to police. Officers followed and closed the roadway to shield other motorists from danger. The driver was operating erratically and swerved across the roadway, narrowly missing several utility poles before he sped up, veered off the road and crashed into a utility pole near the intersection of Route 28, (Main Street) and Franklin Street in Reading, police reported.
The impact of the crash caused the car to flip over and catch fire. The driver was rescued by police and firefighters before being transported to an area hospital by the Reading Fire Department.
The man’s name is not being released at this time. Multiple charges are currently pending against him, police said.
Route 28 was closed in the area of the crash in Reading for more than two hours while the car was removed, damage to the pole was assessed and the crash was investigated. The incident is under investigation by the North Reading Police Department. The Reading Police Department and Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section assisted at the scene.