Officer involved car wreck ends in arrest

by beth on August 25, 2015

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Above: A Southborough Police patrol car was rear ended on Saturday night. (Photos contributed by Southborough Police Department)

On Saturday night, a collision occurred on Route 9 that ended with one police officer transported to the hospital for pain and a Southborough driver under arrest for multiple charges including an OUI and altercations with first responders.

I followed up with Chief Kenneth Paulhus on the condition of the officer involved. He told me that Officer James Gallagher was resting at home yesterday.

Paulhus said the incident involving one of his own “really hit home.” Based on preliminary reports, he believes the officer’s foot was on the accelerator at the moment of collision. He posited that if Gallagher’s foot had been on the brake, the outcome could have been much worse.

At this time, the full details of the accident and events leading to it are still under investigation. 

From the Southborough Police Department’s press release issued yesterday:

At approximately five minutes after midnight on Saturday, August 22, 2015, Southborough Police units were contacted by Framingham Police to be on the lookout for an erratic driver traveling west on Turnpike Road (Route 9). The vehicle was described as a black Porsche SUV that had just left the Samba Restaurant in Framingham.

20150825_police_cruiser_crash-1About two minutes later, Southborough Officer James Gallagher reported that the suspect vehicle had just rear ended his marked cruiser in the area of Central Street and Turnpike Road. Assisting Officers, Sergeant Heath Widdiss and Patrolman Patrick Smith, observed a large amount of debris in the roadway along with the black Porsche SUV resting against a tree with heavy front end damage approximately 100 feet from the intersecton. The cruiser was resting several hundred further down the road with major rear end damage.

20150825_police_cruiser_crash_porscheSergeant Widdiss located the driver of the Porsche, identified as [a Southborough man], and his passenger [a Connecticut man] still sitting in the vehicle. Southborough Fire and Rescue units responded to the scene assisted by Ashland Rescue. Officer Gallagher was transported from the scene to UMass Worcester for complaints of pain. [The other driver] exhibited heavy signs of intoxication, and was also transported to UMass for complaints of pain. He was combative and spitting at first responders, and later charged with the following: 1) OUI Liquor 2) Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle 3) Interfering with a Firefighter 4) Three counts of A&B on Ambulance Personnel. He refused a chemical test. [The passenger] was taken to Ashland P.D. where he was held in protective custody due to his intoxication.

[The suspect] was released on $540.00 cash bail at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Massachusetts State Police along with Southborough Police Lieutenant Sean James and Detective Sean McCarthy are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the crash.

1 Donna McDaniel August 27, 2015 at 8:37 PM

Question: Is it policy (town/ police/ or..) not to name the driver in an accident like this> I think I recall (but not positive) that various incidents/accidents do identify the person involved, especially a driver. Am I not correct (otherwise described as wrong!) ?

Or maybe there’s a policy about when people are named or not…?

2 beth August 28, 2015 at 7:41 AM

I edited it out in keeping with my general policy for coverage related to crimes in town. (This was following advice from Susan, Who I took the block over from, about how she handled these types of stories.)

I don’t publish names in an initial story, just as I always strip names from the police logs.

If there is subsequent continuing news like a trial or arraignment, then I include the name and follow up with stories.

This policy is less about the person arrested, and more about the fact that they often have family in town. It is in respect for the families.

3 Fred smith August 31, 2015 at 10:42 PM

I hope the officer has a speedy recovery. Thank you for your service to Southboro.

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