By Brian Messenger
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — Angel Santiago crashed his motorcycle while eluding police and was killed, but it took more than a day before family members found the 25-year-old’s body on the side of Interstate 495.
The crash occurred around 2 a.m. Saturday. A group of Santiago’s relatives began searching a stretch of I-495 South around 4 p.m. Sunday, after two initial search attempts by local and state authorities were unsuccessful.
George Santiago, Angel’s brother-in-law, said Angel’s body was found just five feet from the guardrail near the Massachusetts Avenue exit. He was missing a leg and had suffered severe trauma on the right side of his body.
“He looked like he was trying to crawl out of there,” George Santiago told The Eagle-Tribune yesterday. “We feel he was still alive (after the crash). We won’t know more until the autopsy.”
Santiago’s body was located more than 400 yards from where police discovered his motorcycle in the early morning hours Saturday, according to Essex District Attorney Spokeswoman Carrie Kimball-Monahan.
Kimball-Monahan said the body was found in a wooded area near a steep embankment.
Methuen police first spotted Santiago on Washington Street at 1:44 a.m. Santiago was driving with a suspended license and no rear light on his motorcycle. A chase ensued onto Route 213 and I-495 South after a police officer attempted to stop Santiago and he accelerated to 90 mph, Kimball-Monahan said.
The chase reached speeds of between 75 and 100 mph before Santiago sped away near Marston Street. Santiago’s motorcycle was found soon after in the breakdown lane near the Massachusetts Avenue exit, Kimball-Monahan said.
An initial search of the area by Methuen police and Lawrence firefighters was unsuccessful. After a missing person report was filed, Kimball-Monahan said a second search was conducted Sunday morning from 7 to 10:30 a.m.
The second search included a helicopter, dogs and foot patrols, according to Massachusetts State Police Spokesman David Procopio. “We searched the area again with negative results,” said Procopio.
Procopio said state police were notified that family members were searching the highway Sunday at 5:15 p.m.
“Ultimately, they did locate the deceased,” said Procopio.
Methuen police Capt. Thomas Fram yesterday deferred all questions about the incident to state police and the district attorney’s office.
Santiago had multiple run-ins with the law. In 2007, when he was charged with unarmed robbery, larceny over $250, threatening to commit a crime and witness intimidation. He was convicted and sentenced to 18 months of probation.
In 2008, Santiago was charged with assault, resisting arrest and trespassing. After being convicted, he was again placed on probation and ordered to take anger management classes.
In 2012, Santiago was charged with assault and battery but the case was later dismissed. Also last year, Santiago was convicted for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and was ordered to pay a $500 fine.