Trial set for man accused of stabbing trooper

  • Nghia V. Le, 18, of Manchester, N.H., at his arraignment in Franklin Superior Court in Greenfield in December. Le allegedly stabbed a state trooper following a high-speed chase that ended in New Salem. STAFF PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer
Published: 3/22/2019 11:31:15 PM

GREENFIELD — The man who allegedly stole a woman’s car, led police on a multistate manhunt and stabbed a state trooper in New Salem will go to trial this year.

Nghia Le, 18, of Manchester, New Hampshire, is charged with armed assault with intent to murder; armed assault with intent to rob; mayhem; aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; armed carjacking; assault and battery upon a public employee; assault with a dangerous weapon and reckless operation. He has pleaded not guilty.

Le appeared in Franklin Superior Court in Greenfield on Friday, where his trial was tentatively set for September, with a final pretrial hearing to be held Sept. 3.

The prosecution and defense have until May 1 to file motions in the case. It is unclear what these motions might be, but Le’s sanity has been a topic at some hearings, with a judge previously ordering a mental health evaluation to take place at the Franklin County House of Correction, where Le is being held.

According to the Northwestern district attorney, Le stabbed and tried to kill state police Trooper Mark Whitcomb after a high-speed chase that ended in New Salem on Oct. 19, 2018.

Police say Le was in a car accident in Walpole, New Hampshire, earlier in the day and stole the Toyota Camry belonging to the other driver involved in the crash, a 72-year-old woman. Le then allegedly fled in the stolen car, driving through Vermont and south down Interstate 91 into Massachusetts.

Whitcomb was pursuing Le when Le finally crashed on Route 202 near Fay Road in New Salem. According to prosecutors, Whitcomb parked his car “nose to nose” with the vehicle Le was in, and Le exited, approached Whitcomb’s cruiser, opened the door and started stabbing the 47-year-old husband and father with “seven or eight swings of the knife.”

According to Erving Police Chief Christopher Blair, video evidence shows the knife-wielding Le then start to run toward a woman and child close by, and it is believed Le was going to attempt another carjacking.

Officer James Loynd of the Erving Police Department was on the scene and, according to Blair, rushed toward Le, shot him in the torso and then performed lifesaving first aid on the injured Whitcomb. Loynd was commended for his heroism.

Whitcomb and Le were taken in separate LifeFlight helicopters to the UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, and were later released. Whitcomb’s family has not commented on his recovery, but state police Major Michael Ha bel said in December Whitcomb was “doing OK.” He was roughly a 12-year veteran of the state police at the time of the ordeal.

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.




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