MERRIMAC — Three Lawrence men face up to 21/2 years in jail after being charged by police with racing on Interstate 495 south in Merrimac early Tuesday morning, weaving in and out of lanes at speeds in excess of 90 mph.
Cauly A. Abreu, 21, 400 South Broadway; Jonathan Almonte, 21, 27 Bellvue St.; and Gabriely Quiles, 20, 123 Margin St., all of Lawrence, were issued summonses for racing along with speeding and marked lanes after a state trooper working a paid detail pulled them over in Haverhill.
According to state police, Abreu and Almonte, operating a Honda SUV and a Honda sedan respectively, and Quiles, behind the wheel of an Acura sedan, were spotted in the rear view mirror of Sgt. Frank Puopolo traveling at a high rate of speed and conducting aggressive lane changes around unsuspecting motorists.
Puopolo said upon noticing the three cars, he accelerated to 90 mph and determined they were still gaining on him. He then slowed down until the men passed him. Puopolo eventually caught up with all three, pulling them over along the Whittier Flats area of the highway in Haverhill. Puopolo said he first noticed the racers’ headlights north of Broad Street and followed them up a hill past the Merrimac rest area before pulling them over.
None of the men, Puopolo said, admitted to racing nor did passengers riding along in at least one of the cars.
“I was in the right spot at the right time,” Puopolo said.
The Merrimac section of Interstate 495 south near Broad Street is often heavily congested and the scene of many accidents, sometimes with fatal results. The speed limit is 65 mph, and the road is relatively straight. It is notoriously known to local emergency responders as the Merrimac Triangle, due to the number of accidents that occur there. It’s a reference of sorts to the Bermuda Triangle, a section of the Atlantic Ocean where a number of aircraft and ships have come to grief.