Watch: Man barrels through crime scene, hits cruiser and nearly strikes LEOs
After striking a cruiser, the suspect fled the scene and drugs could be seen flying out the car window through bodycam footage
By Mike Mavredakis
WATERBURY, Conn. — A Waterbury man was charged with multiple offenses, including assault, after driving through the active scene of a fatal car crash on Tuesday night, hitting a police cruiser and nearly striking officers before driving off, according to the Waterbury Police Department.
The driver was identified on Wednesday as Myrice Hodge, 35, of Waterbury, according to Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo.
Hodge was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree criminal attempt at assault, seven counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, two count of evading responsibility, engaging police in pursuit, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, insufficient insurance, operating without a license, interfering with an officer and possession of narcotics with intent to sell, Spagnolo said during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
In addition, he had an outstanding domestic violence warrant for second-degree assault and unlawful restraint, according to police.
Police had responded to a crash involving a pedestrian in the area around 62 Chase Ave. after 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
The pedestrian, identified as 42-year-old Merton Larmore of New Milford, was hit at the intersection of Chase Avenue and Hill Street. He was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead soon after. The driver involved remained on the scene with investigators, police said.
Officers had Chase Avenue closed between North Main Street and Hill Street as they investigated the fatal crash. Around 8:45 p.m., a car traveling north on Chase Avenue drove into the crash scene. The car nearly hit investigating officers before reversing and hitting a cruiser and a parked vehicle. The car then fled the area, police said.
Items can be seen flying out of the window during the chase on an officer’s body camera footage released at the press conference. The items were later recovered on Highland Avenue and determined to be narcotics, Spagnolo said.
The vehicle continued driving recklessly through the city, but police were able to stop the vehicle and take the driver into custody on Bradley Avenue, police said. There were no other people in the car.
Spagnolo said there were plenty of warning signals there was an active crime scene, from emergency lights to caution tape to officers conducting traffic.
“Any driver that was partially paying attention would have been aware that there was an issue,” he said.
The police cruiser was heavily damaged and will be out of service for “a while,” Spagnolo said. The car may be totaled, he said.
No officers were injured in the incident, according to police.
Hodge reportedly has gang ties and an extended criminal history in Connecticut and New York dating back to 2004, Spagnolo said. He was out on a $50,000 bond for weapons and narcotics charges in Naugatuck from November 2020.
Hodge is being held in lieu of a $1 million bond on the evading charges and $5,000 bond on the previous domestic assault charges, police said. He was scheduled to appear in Waterbury Superior Court on Wednesday.
“This is the issue we’re dealing with here,” Spagnolo said. “It’s a very small portion of the population that we’re seeing that’s involved in the judicial system, that gets released under the judicial system with minimal supervision or on a low bond that’s back in our communities wreaking havoc and putting our police officer’s lives in danger as well as our community member’s lives in danger.”
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