A driver who fled multiple crashes he caused, then a police stop, on the Massachusetts Turnpike Sunday afternoon in a wild chase that ended with his arrest in a swamp is now facing multiple charges, officials said.
The driver finally crashed his gold Cadillac XTS sedan in Charlton and fled on foot, according to state police, and was only arrested after being spotted a second time, in the swamp. At least one person was hurt.
The driver, identified by state police as Carlos A. Rodriguez, 33, of Lowell, is facing a dozen charges, including second offense drunken driving, operating with a suspended license, failure to stop for police, leaving the scene of a crash, assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest.
The incident was first reported about 5:27 p.m., when people called police about a Cadillac being driven west down the highway moving erratically and causing crashes but driving on. Police said a trooper spotted the car in Charlton but the driver wouldn't stop.
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As the police cruiser chased the car, it caused another crash, prompting the trooper to break off pursuit to help, police said. The Cadillac crashed again further down the highway and witnesses told officers the driver ran off.
State troopers began searching the area, and a homeowner spotted the driver running through his backyard and called police around 5:30 p.m. State troopers responded to that location and saw Rodriguez run into the woods behind the residence.
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Rodriguez was apprehended a short time later in waist-deep water in a swamp off Simpson Road, police said. Drugs and alcohol were allegedly found in his Cadillac.
He was taken to Harrington Hospital in Southbridge after complaining of injuries. While at the hospital, he was booked over the phone with a trooper standing by him. He was treated and released from the hospital and held overnight at state police barracks. He was scheduled to be arraigned in Dudley District Court on Monday morning.
An 80-year-old Simsbury, Connecticut, man who was driving an Audi Q5 that was struck by Rodriguez's car was also taken to Harrington Hospital after complaining of pain. His condition was not immediately known. A passenger in that SUV was uninjured.
Rodriguez's car also hit a second vehicle, a Toyota RAV4 driven by a 62-year-old New York man, but police said he was not hurt in the crash.
The incident on the Turnpike came more than an hour after a crash involving a truck and three cars on the other side of the highway in Charlton, according to police.
That crash, which was reported about 4:15 p.m., sent two people to the hospital with minor injuries and caused delays as highway lanes were closed until about 6:30 p.m.
Separately, another truck crash in Charlton was reported on state Route 20 at Masonic Home Road in Charlton Sunday. State police said that crash sent multiple people to the hospital, but no further details were available.