Troopers Pull Suspect from Burning Car After Route 91 Pursuit

At approximately 2:40 a.m. today Massachusetts State Troopers observed a Ford Mustang whose driver was wanted by Springfield Police for warrants and motor vehicle violations. Troopers spotted the suspect vehicle on Route 91 northbound in West Springfield and attempted to stop it, but the suspect fled at a high rate of speed. Troop B Headquarters authorized a pursuit and assumed command and control.

After several minutes, as the suspect continued to refuse to stop and the pursuit continued toward Northampton, other troopers were able to place a Stinger tire deflation device ahead of the fleeing vehicle. The Mustang’s right side tires struck the Stinger on Route 91 where it crosses over the Connecticut River Oxbow.

Workers on a construction project up ahead were removed from the roadway. The suspect vehicle continued for a brief time on the damaged tires and then crashed first into a construction sign at the road project, and then into a construction contractor’s truck that was parked in the median.

The impact of the crash caused several immediate results: the Mustang burst into flames and the suspect was trapped inside; a road contractor who was in or near the truck suffered minor injuries; and the road construction sign that the suspect struck went airborne and landed on the windshield of one of the pursuing cruisers.

Troopers rushed up to the burning Mustang and pulled the injured suspect out of the vehicle. The suspect, identified as DARRYL WHITAKER, 54, of Chicopee, was transported with serious injuries to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, where he remains at this hour under guard. He will be charged with several outstanding warrants and motor vehicle offenses related to his failure to stop for police.

The contractor, a 41-year-old Gill man, was transported to Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton with injuries believed to be minor.

The trooper whose cruiser was struck by the construction sign was not injured; the cruiser sustained significant damage.

Route 91 northbound was closed at Exit 18 to facilitate the emergency response and crash investigation. The road was reopened shortly before 6 a.m.

No further information is being released at this time.