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3-town car chase ends in arrest of local teen

ERVING — A local teenager faces a slew of charges after he allegedly led police on a high-speed chase back and forth through Erving and Montague Saturday afternoon, ending in Northfield after he and his passenger abandoned the truck and fled into the woods.

Police arrested Carl Engstrom, 18, of 10 West Main St., the alleged driver, charging him with speeding, failure to stop for police, marked lanes violations, failure to stop for a stop sign, reckless operation, negligent operation, leaving the scene of property damage, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, use of a vehicle without authority and unlicensed operation.

Officer James LaFlamme of the Erving Police Department said Sgt. Corey Greene was working traffic enforcement on the Moore Street section of Route 63 when a red pickup truck passed southbound at 51 mph in the posted 25 mph area that is home to a park, library, fire station, senior center and elementary school.

LaFlamme said Greene attempted a stop but the truck accelerated, passing vehicles on a solid yellow line and disregarding stop signs.

The truck headed from Erving into Millers Falls, onto the dirt roads of the Montague Plains, then back into Erving before turning back to Millers Falls, with two Montague officers joining the chase back through the Montague Plains into Erving, then north on Route 63 toward Northfield Mountain, where Northfield police attempted to stop the truck with strips designed to pop the tires.

LaFlamme said the first attempt missed and a second attempt farther down the road caught the passenger side front tire, but unfortunately that tire had been flat for some time.

Engstrom had been driving on three tires and a rim since leaving the Montague Plains the first time, according to LaFlamme.

“Coming out of the Plains, he went across Lake Pleasant Road and just the force of him going so fast, the vehicle was literally airborne and I guess the aggressiveness of the vehicle coming down just popped that front tire,” LaFlamme said.

After the second attempt to stop the truck with the strips, near the Route 10 junction, the chase continued through Northfield Center, then took a right onto Warwick Road.

At this point officers called off the pursuit, LaFlamme said, because they now knew who was driving and deemed the chase a hazard to the public.

“Main Street in Northfield, I think it’s a 25-30 (mph zone) and he did at least double that, so they didn’t want to put the public at jeopardy,” LaFlamme said

Continuing at a slower pace, Montague K-9 Officer John Dempsey came across the truck abandoned in the middle of Warwick Road, saw two people fleeing into the woods and tracked and caught them, LaFlamme said, joined shortly by the Erving K-9 and his handler.

The passenger, an 18-year-old woman, did not break any laws and is not being charged.

The chase began at 12:45 p.m. and police caught up with the pair at about 1:55 p.m., LaFlamme said.

Engstrom did not have permission to take the truck, which belongs to the people he lives with, LaFlamme said.

The property damage charge stems from a telephone pole side-swiped in Erving and the assault charge from what LaFlamme said were repeated attempts to run Greene off the road as Greene attempted to pass the truck in order to slow it down.

LaFlamme said Engstrom fled the initial speed stop because he was driving without a license.

Sparks brush fires

Turners Falls Fire Capt. Leon Ambo blamed sparks from the truck’s bare rim for two small brush fires in the area of Lake Pleasant and Green Pond roads, and a third in Northfield.

Engstrom was in the Franklin County House of Corrections Sunday on $1,000 bail and must appear in Orange District Court today.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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