A man who led police on a chase through three towns is accused of almost hitting a police cruiser head-on and later almost striking another officer setting up "stop sticks."
Daniel S. Brackesy, 39, of Belmont has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, failure to stop for police, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, resisting arrest and marked lanes violation. In Wenham, police there have charged him with threat to commit a crime, failure to stop for police, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and speeding.
The chase started at about 2:45 p.m. on Friday when a green Volkswagen Passat passed Hamilton Police Officer Michael Wetson on Chebacco Road. The car was going 40 miles per hour and was accelerating to 50 mph. Wetson went to stop the car and followed it down Chebacco Road, past the area where the road changes to dirt and Brackesy continued to drive his VW through the narrow, pothole-filled section of the road into Manchester-by-the-Sea, according to a police report on the incident.
Brackesy went to get on to Route 128 southbound, but the ramp was blocked by a front-end loader removing snow. So instead he got on Route 128 northbound and drove north of exit 15 (School Street) in Manchester to a turnaround road where he then started to go south on the highway. When Wetson encountered heavier traffic on Route 128 southbound he ended the chase.
Brackesy ended up getting off at exit 16 and again headed back down Pine Street in Manchester onto Chebacco Road in Hamilton. Hamilton Police Sgt. Stephen Trepanier had headed to the area.
Trepanier was about at the boat ramp on Chebacco Road when he said he saw a "crazed driver" headed toward him and he braced to have his cruiser struck head-on. Trepanier moved to the shoulder of the road and into the snowbank to avoid Brackesy's VW as Trepanier said he saw "no dear" in the facial expression of Brackesy. The car also had heavy front-end damage. It was not clear when and where the damage occurred.
After avoiding a crash, Brackesy was then chased down Chebacco Road to Essex Street and Larch Row into Wenham, where Wenham police were set up with "stop sticks." Wenham Police Sgt. Jonathan Gray had blocked one lane of the road with his cruiser and set up the "stop sticks" in the other lane.
As Gray was positioned on Larch Row, he said that Brackesy allegedly accelerated toward him, up to 65-70 miles per hour and veered toward him, according to a police report. Brackesy eventually drove the VW over the stop sticks and the two passenger side tires went flat.
Trepanier said he then saw the VW weaving as Bracksey was having trouble controlling it with two flat tires. Brackesy got the driver's door opened and prepared to jump out.
Moments later, he went off the road and struck a stonewall along the road, then got out and fled toward a Larch Row home, eventually getting inside a trash barrel to hide. Police found him peeking out of the barrel and arrested him.
As he was led back to a cruiser, police saw that he was wearing only socks and no shoes.
Police asked Brackesy why he fled from police and he started to yell at police, later adding he did not stop because he wanted to talk to his lawyer.
After his arrest, Brackesy first showed police a New Hampshire license that showed a Londonderry address. But the home at that address was foreclosed last year, according to public records online.
Later, Brackesy's parents told police he was living with them in Belmont.
It was Brackesy's second encounter with police in about the past two months. In December, Londonderry Patch in New Hampshire reported while being booked in the police station.
Salem, N.H. police said at the time that Brackesy "dove to a counter in the booking room and grabbed the bag of crack trying to swallow it." Brackesy was later tasered following a struggle with an officer in the booking area.
He was charged with felonies of crack possession and falsifying physical evidence. Additionally, police in the New Hampshire case charged him with possession of drugs in a motor vehicle, simple assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and various motor vehicle violations. He was released on $50,000 personal recognizance bail in that case.
Judge Peter Doyle set his bail at $1,000 cash or $10,000 surety and he is scheduled to return to Ipswich District Court for a pre-trial hearing on the Hamilton and Wenham charges on March 14.