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UPDATE: Checkpoint Fleeing Suspect Identified

The chase involving a Lawrence man happened early Sunday morning.

Shots rang out early Sunday morning in Lawrence as an alleged drunk driver fled a sobriety checkpoint and struck a state trooper, and the driver was eventually apprehended in North Andover.

Shortly after 2 a.m., police say Ottoniel Herrera, 32, of 205 Prospect St., Lawrence, was operating a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee when state police pulled him over at a  sobriety checkpoint on Route 28 in Lawrence. Herrera fled, and in the process he reportedly drove his vehicle at the troopers, striking one of them in his hand, according to state police reports. Police say Hererra drove down a dead-end street, turned around and came back toward the checkpoint at more than 100 miles per hour.

The troopers then opened fire on the car but did not hit the driver.

Herrera then drove away and led the state police on a chase from Route 28 to I-495 and into North Andover via the Massachusetts Avenue exit. Herrera took off down Sutton Street in North Andover but then crashed into a state police cruiser.

The trooper in that crash was reportedly not injured.

"State Police are processing both crime scenes and the suspect vehicle and interviewing witnesses," Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio said. "Meanwhile, the trooper who suffered the hand injury has been treated at an area hospital and released."

North Andover Police Officer William Brush got the alert and rushed to the scene to help the state police, North Andover Police Chief Gallagher said. North Andover Fire Department was then notified, and EMTs transported Herrera to Lawrence General Hospital.

Herrera was released from the hospital later Sunday morning and will be arraigned Monday in Lawrence District Court on the following charges:

  • Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (to wit, a motor vehicle)
  • Assault and battery on a police officer
  • Operating under the influence of liquor
  • Leaving the scene of a personal injury crash
  • Negligent operation of a motor vehicle
  • Failure to stop for police
  • Failure to stop at a red light
  • Failure to use care when stopping
  • Speeding
  • Marked lanes violation

"Defendant Herrera's actions -- from driving drunk to trying to run down a trooper to fleeing at a high rate of speed -- reveal an utter disregard for the law and for the safety of innocent citizens in cars and homes around him," Procopio said. "The defendant's reckless behavior could have caused serious injury, or worse, to innocent bystanders or police officers."

Check back on Patch for further updates.

Ringerang8 April 30, 2012 at 01:29 PM
What was his record before this ? I'm sure he has one. Also, is he here legally ? If not, how was he driving then ? How did he get a license, plates, insurance, registration etc. And in what State ?
Steve Kaiser April 30, 2012 at 01:30 PM
You fought in Unconstitutional wars, I'm glad for you!!....You fought to protect our liberty and defend the constitution not to implement totalitarianism. “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
devoutplayerhater April 30, 2012 at 01:30 PM
If I were one of those cops, I would had snatched his a&& out of that vehicle and commenced to whaling on his A&& something terrible...I mean I would literally beat his a&& until he had to shi*...
all im sayin is April 30, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Okay...dead end...I can block at least one lane with my car...buddy cop can block another lane with his car...while we get out and unload our 9s on him. I guess I could go along with not being able to hit the driver with a bullet since he was going so fast, but what was this "dead end" street...6 lanes?!?!?!
Hugh Hadfield April 30, 2012 at 03:04 PM
I hear so many comments about how check point stops are illegal and how they take away the rights of drivers by infringing on this or that right. The way I see it, this checkpoint did exactly what is was supposed to do. It got a very bad person off the streets. Police can't be everywhere at every moment so these check points allow them to find people that are sharing the same roads we drive on but shouldn't be because of suspended drivers' licences, no insurance, and maybe even an outstanding warrant. What would you say if this guy had crashed into the back of your teenage daughter's car and while she was standing in the road after the crash this guy sped off because he was afraid of being caught by police and smashed your daughter's skull under his tires? Are you really going to say that it is not a good idea to use check points to possibly prevent this? If you are in the privacy of your own home you do have certain rights against illegal search. But when you are in your car using the same roads as the rest of us I for one want to make sure you are supposed to be there. I don't want you there if you are drunk, on drugs, have a suspended or no license or insurance, have an outstanding warrant or are wanted for a crime, etc.

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