EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 27, 2013

Argument over drug use leads to gravity-defying crash

By Douglas Moser
dmoser@eagletribune.com

---- — METHUEN — A man who argued with his wife about his drug use took his neighbor’s car and crashed it into a house off East Street yesterday, landing the SUV upright against a second-story deck.

The man, whom police did not identify, drove at high speed down Ashford Street and rolled the GMC Jimmy across East Street, witnesses said. The truck crashed through a fence and into a yard, where it came to rest against a second-floor deck standing upright on its rear bumper about a dozen feet from a small swing and slide set.

The driver fled on foot, but police found him nearby, visibly injured, and had him transported to the hospital. Nobody else was reported injured, and no one was at the home at the time of the crash.

Police Lt. Michael Pappalardo said police responded to reports of an intoxicated individual needing assistance on Oak Street at 11:57 a.m. The person left in a vehicle just before police arrived, and moments later police came upon the crash.

Witnesses called the police station and reported to the officers on the scene a “shirtless, bloody and apparently injured man seen running through the area,” Pappalardo said.

An off-duty officer with a dog assisted in the search, and eventually found the man police suspected of being the driver in a marshy, wooded area off Annette Street. Police gave first aid assistance, and rescuers transported the man to the hospital.

Pappalardo said police have not yet decided whether to file charges. “The possibility of criminal charges does exist, but I cannot reveal the nature of the charges due to the ongoing investigation,” he said.

A woman at the scene of the crash who identified herself as the driver’s wife said they had just had an argument about his drug use. She tried to convince him to get help, but he became upset and left in their neighbor’s Jimmy. The SUV was not reported as stolen to police.

Pappalardo said police had not determined what the man was under the influence of.

Martineau’s Towing pulled the truck from the porch of the house, located at One Weisner Parkway and set it on its wheels in the yard before removing it. The house did not sustain much damage, though part of a railing on the deck was destroyed.

The Essex County Sheriff’s Office also assisted in the search. Methuen Patrolman Kara McMenamon is conducting the investigation.

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