WESTFIELD – City police are seeking a motorcyclist who fled from an officer making a routine traffic stop and evaded police after driving on the wrong side of Franklin and Main streets and on a sidewalk.
Officer Harry Sienkiewicz reports he observed two motorcycles operating south bound on North Elm Street shortly after noon on Friday and saw that one of the motorcycles did not display a rear license plate.
Sienkiewicz reports that when he activated his take-down lights the operator of the motorcycle looked directly at him and accelerated. Sienkiewicz activated his cruiser’s siren but the biker still did not stop and crossed the Great River Bridge at a speed Sienkiewicz estimated to be about 55 mph. Sienkiewicz did not attempt to keep pace with the fleeing motorcycle but kept it in sight and advised other officers by radio of his chase.
Officer Luis Morales had been approaching the bridge on Elm Street and activated his cruiser’s lights and siren as the motorcycle approached and, after it passed him without stopping, he reversed direction and joined Sienkiewicz’s pursuit as the motorcyclist wove through southbound traffic on Elm Street.
When the fleeing operator reached Franklin Street, Sienkiewicz reports the man bore to the right as he passed vehicles stopped at the intersection, as if he was going to proceed westbound but, instead, turned east in the westbound lane for a short distance and returned to Elm Street.
Near Arnold Street, Officer Jose Torres, who had been approaching from the south with his cruiser’s lights and siren activated, saw the fleeing motorcycle and reversed direction to join the pursuit, falling in behind Sienkiewicz’s and Morales’ cruisers.
The operator failed to stop for a red light at Arnold Street nor did he stop for the verbal and manual instructions of Lt. Lawrence Valliere who was on foot, dressed in full police uniform with a reflective vest.
At Main Street the motorcycle operator did not follow the established traffic pattern around Park Square but turned left and drove eastbound in the westbound lane until it reached the entrance to a parking lot where it drove on to the sidewalk and proceeded, almost striking two pedestrians.
The pursing officers drove around the Green and Torres continued on Elm Street in case the suspect doubled back.
Sienkiewicz and Morales continued to follow the fleeing motorcycle, which left the sidewalk and turned left on to Free Street. The officers followed and when they reached Thomas Street they had lost sight of the suspect but a pedestrian pointed toward Mechanic Street where another pedestrian indicated the motorcycle had fled toward Meadow Street.
There, Sgt. Ray Manos was working a road job and reports that he did not see the motorcycle enter Meadow Street although, having been listening to reports of the chase on his radio, he was looking for it.
A short time late, Officer Paul Pellan reported that he had seen the suspect motorcycle enter the Massachusetts Turnpike. The State Police were notified.
Valliere reported that a delivery truck driver told him that he recognized the motorcyclist he had seen operating on the Main Street sidewalk and the man was interviewed by Sienkiewicz.
Sienkiewicz reported that the witness said that he recognized the suspect as a person he had seen “numerous times” at an address he specified.
Sienkiewicz reports his investigation continues.
Carl E. Hartdegen can be reached at [email protected]