Worcester Police

Woman Arrested at Worcester McDonalds After Striking Cop With Stolen Truck

The Worcester officer was injured and taken to a local hospital but his injuries are not life-threatening, police said.

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A wild police pursuit Tuesday morning ended at a McDonalds in Worcester, Massachusetts, when the suspect attempted to order some food at the drive-through.

Worcester police officers responded around 8:45 a.m. to the area of Lake Avenue for a reported stolen company pick-up truck. A man told them that a woman he didn't know had climbed into his vehicle and drove away.

The company owner had GPS in the vehicle and told officers it was in the area of Pelham Street. While police were on the way there, they were flagged down by a driver whose vehicle had been struck by the stolen truck on Belmont Street.

An officer located the truck on Charlton Street, got out of his cruiser and approached it, but the driver -- later identified as Johanna Gardell, 38 -- drove away as the officer walked toward her.

The officer got back in his cruiser and pursued her, but Gardell began speeding on Main Street and drove through red lights, police said. For safety reasons, the cop stopped following her.

According to police, Gardell came upon heavy traffic in the area of 939 Main Street and then decided to drive in the wrong lane, against traffic, in an attempt to get around stopped vehicles. She drove into a van, prompting two officers working detail and another officer in the area to approach the truck she was in.

Police say Gardell backed up the stolen truck at a high rate of speed and struck a cruiser behind her, knocking down and dragging one of the detail officers. He was injured and taken to a local hospital but his injuries are not life-threatening. His name was not released.

Police pursued Gardell again before the pursuit was called off for safety reasons for a second time.

At this point, police say, Gardell went to the drive-through at a McDonald's on Shrewsbury Street to get something to eat. She was approached by officers in two vehicles, at which point she intentionally struck one of them. The impact sent the truck off the road, and it became stuck in the mulch on the McDonald's property.

Officers were able to pull Gardell out of the truck, while she fought and struggled. She was handcuffed and is facing a slew of charges including failure to stop for police, marked lanes violation, operating to endanger, red light violation, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon (motor vehicle), assault by means of a dangerous weapon (motor vehicle), malicious mischief to motor vehicle, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, operating a motor vehicle after suspension (driver's license), and use of motor vehicle without authority.

Gardell will be arraigned in court at a later date. It's unclear if she has obtained an attorney.

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