Published in the August 4, 2015 edition
WAKEFIELD – Chief Richard E. Smith has reported that officers from the Wakefield Police Department stopped an alleged drunken wrong-way driver on Rte. 128 early Monday morning without causing harm to other operators on the road. State Police identified the driver as Kathy Lilakos, 52, of Lynnfield.
“This could have been an extremely tragic situation but Wakefield Police were able to safely locate and stop the operator,” Chief Smith said. “We are thankful no one was injured.”
Just after midnight Sunday, Wakefield Police received a report from the Massachusetts State Police about a vehicle traveling south on the northbound side of Rte. 128. Several officers were working a private detail for Aggregate Industries and were stationed at various locations on the highway.
Within moments, Det. Kenneth Silva radioed that he spotted the vehicle in the far left lane heading toward his location. He attempted to pull out of the construction setup with his emergency lights on to try to get the operator’s attention but his efforts proved unsuccessful. He then turned around and attempted to catch up to the vehicle, being careful to stay within the breakdown lane and construction setup so as to not create an additional safety hazard.
At that time, Sgt. Joseph Anderson reported that he was on the southbound side of the highway and was able to drive parallel to the wrong-way driver. He drove next to the vehicle using his lights, siren and spotlight to get the operator’s attention and was eventually able to get the vehicle to stop. Sgt. Anderson then jumped over the concrete barrier and got the female operator out of the vehicle and off to the side of the highway.
Because the vehicle was stopped in the high speed lane, workers from Aggregate Industries immediately moved an electronic arrow board into that lane to prevent anyone from hitting it. Patrol Officer Christopher Whalen also provided emergency lights at the location. Massachusetts State Police arrived and took the operator into custody and charged her with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
“Everyone involved in the highway detail played an important part in preventing a potentially fatal collision,” said Lt. Scott Reboulet, the officer in charge of the shift. “However, I feel that Sgt. Anderson and Det. Silva deserve extra recognition for their actions in getting this apparent intoxicated operator stopped safely. Their quick thinking, tactics, as well as discretion, brought what very likely could have ended in a fatal crash to a safe conclusion.”