WAKEFIELD — Frigid temperatures hovering in the single digits and a wind chill factor of well below zero might have claimed the life of a 19-year-old man early Saturday morning if not for an intensive police search that included a State Police K-9 named Rocky.
Police received a call just before 2 a.m. Saturday from a frantic Wakefield mother who said that her son, 19, was intoxicated, extremely upset and suicidal.
She also said the young man had fled from her home in the vicinity of Vernon and Water streets while driving a GMC Jimmy SUV at a high rate of speed. He may have been carrying a knife, the mother said.
A search was launched immediately by Sgt. Matthew Maglio and Patrol Officers Matthew Chambers, David Rando and Jonathan Burnham. State Police were also alerted and a request for K-9 assistance was made to find the missing man.
Police were able to “ping” the man’s cell phone, which revealed he was somewhere near the downtown area of Wakefield. Police said the search took about two hours because the area is so widespread, but K-9 Rocky finally located the man sitting under a tree behind a snowbank on the Veterans Memorial Common across from Bryant Street.
In spite of the frigid temperatures and the fact that the man was wearing only a navy blue Massachusetts Maritime sweatshirt, he was found conscious and alert in a snowy area he had dug out, said police. He appeared to have consumed alcohol and also suffered a laceration but police did not say what area of his body was injured.
When approached by police, the man went with them willingly and was transported by Action Ambulance to Lahey Clinic in Burlington for treatment. The two State Troopers assisting in the search were Rocky’s handler Jason Vital and Sean Stowe.
“The outcome could have been a tragedy,” said Wakefield Police Lt. Craig Calabrese. “Every officer, including the K-9, did a great job finding this young man and saving him from a certain death.”
In other police business over the weekend, beginning Friday:
• A hit-and-run accident took place at 7:45 a.m. on Lowell Street.
• Police plan to summons a driver to court on a charge of negligent operation of a motor vehicle. The person was stopped on Main Street at about 3 p.m.
• A collision at the intersection of Prospect and Hopkins Street was reported at about 3:30 p.m.
• An injured raccoon was found on the porch of a Putnam Avenue home. The call was logged at about 10:20 a.m.
• A dispute between neighbors on Greenwood Street was reported at about 11:30 p.m.
• A collision at the intersection of Prospect and Brook streets took place just after 11:30 p.m.
• A caller reported that someone skateboarding on Tuttle Street was causing a traffic hazard. The incident was logged at about 2:45 p.m. The skateboarder was sent on his way.
• A past hit-and-run collision was reported at about 4:30 p.m. Minor damage was noted on the struck vehicle.
• A caller from Jade Garden on Tuttle Street reported that an out-of-control patron was inside the restaurant at about 1:30 a.m. Police said a broken chair was found at the restaurant. Police plan to look at video footage to see what led to the incident and if a suspect can be identified.
• A caller reported that neighbors on North Emerson Street were acting in a loud manner at about 3 a.m. Police resolved the matter.
• A caller told police that his car was struck in the parking lot of MG Fitness on Broadway while he was inside. The incident was logged at 9:25 a.m.
• A second hit-and-run on Sunday was reported at about 1 a.m. The incident took place at the intersection of Mansion Road and Winship Drive.
• A golden retriever without tags was found on Oak Street at 1:40 p.m. Police held the dog for a while.
• A collision on Audubon Road occurred at about 3:30 p.m. A citation was issued to one of the drivers. One of the vehicles was towed.
The Fire Department responded to 37 calls over the weekend, 23 for medical aid.
On Friday, firefighters went to 234 Lowell St. where a chimney fire was reported at 11 p.m. Fire Chief Michael Sullivan said a wood stove on the first floor was the source of the fire, as creosote in the chimney pipe got the fire going. The lone occupant of the home was forced to find other lodging since the stove was the only source of heat. Capt. Paul Pronco led the effort and Engines 1 and Ladder 1 and Car 2 were at the scene.
On Saturday, a fire crew went to 231 Salem St. at 2 a.m. for a fire alarm system malfunction, 12 Woodbury Rd. at 12:30 p.m. for a carbon monoxide detector malfunction, 128 Chestnut St. at 8:45 p.m. for an odor of smoke traced to a faulty space heater and 16 DelCarmine St. at 11:45 p.m. for a fire alarm system malfunction.
On Sunday, firefighters went to 9 Oak St. at 2 a.m. for a problem with a boiler and 974 Main St. for an odor of smoke traced to a heating system.
Also on Sunday, firefighters went to 109 Hopkins St. at 6 p.m. after a strange odor inside a home was reported. Nothing was found.
Today, a crew went to 200 Lowell St. at 4:45 a.m. for a fire alarm system malfunction.