Three People Arrested After Wild, Seven-Town Chase
Nov 12, 2014 11:58AM, Published by Bill Gilman, Categories: Public Safety
Gallery: Stolen van chase [2 Images] Click any image to expand.
Erin Casoli, 32, of Saugus and Michael LaCrosse, 32, of Woburn were passengers in a van reported stolen out of Billerica Tuesday night. They were arrested shortly after the van was finally stopped in Pelham, NH.
According to a report in the Lowell Sun, the driver of the van, Michael Steele, fled the vehicle on foot and was captured with the help of K9 units from the New Hampshire and Massachusetts State Police. According to the report, Steele kicked a police dog and injured his own leg in the process. He was transported to a hospital in Derry for treatment before being booked.
The chase began in Tewksbury, around 10:30 p.m., when a Tewksbury officer spotted the stolen van. What transpired over the course of the next hour was, as one Twitter follower described it, "straight out of Grand Theft Auto."
Steele, allegedly behind the wheel, refused to pull over and headed toward Lowell at a high rate of speed. Police chased the van into downtown Lowell, then back into Tewksbury. Steele then led the cruisers into Andover, Lawrence and then back again into Lowell, then into Methuen and Dracut. By this time, police from several communities, as well as State Troopers, were involved in the chase, including Tewskbury. One witness in North Tewksbury reported seeing as many as 15 cruisers involved in the pursuit.
According to scanner reports, speeds during the chase reached 60 MPH but traffic was very light.
Finally, Steele crossed the border into Pelham, NH and later into Windham.
Pelham Police put out "stop sticks" on the road intended to flatten the tires of the van. Steele managed to avoid the sticks but a Tewksbury cruiser did not. The cruiser's tires were punctured and it was forced to break off the pursuit. According to scanner reports, Pelham PD hadn't informed the other departments involved in the pursuit that the stop sticks were being deployed, which led to the accident.
Meanwhile, State Troopers were also ordered to break off pursuit, as their dispatch office was losing radio contact.
Finally, Pelham PD deployed a second set of stop sticks, which successfully flattened the tires of the fan and disabled it, leading to the arrests.
Steele is charged with receiving stolen property, operating a motor vehicle after his license was suspended, disobeying an officer, resisting arrest, willful interference with police dogs and being a fugitive from justice.
Casoli and LaCrosse are each charged with a single count of receiving stolen property.
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