EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 25, 2013

Some cheers, some jeers for recent newsmakers|Editorial: Some cheers, some jeers for recent newsmakers

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — CHEERS to some quick thinking pizza shop customers for preventing a collision between a train and a car in Andover.

Thursday night, customers at Depot House of Pizza, at 53 Essex St., heard a car’s spinning tires and went outside to investigate. They saw that a car was stuck on the railroad tracks that cross Essex Street near the pizza shop. And a freight train was approaching.

A retired state trooper, Sean Melvin, got the driver out of the car while other customers frantically signaled the engineer to stop the train. The train was moving slowly and was able to stop about 20 to 30 feet from the car.

“It’s a good thing he was going so slow,” Jovany Santos, who works at Depot Pizza, told reporter Paul Tennant.

The driver, whom police did not identify, apparently intended to make a left turn from Essex Street into Dundee Park, a group of office buildings, and made the turn too quickly, according to police Sgt. Cecilia Blais. The car was stuck between a rail and snow bank and the driver was unable to get traction when trying to back out of the snow.

A tow truck later freed the car. The driver was not charged.

The quick action of the pizza shop customers saved the day, preventing what could have been serious injuries and destruction of property. Congratulations and well done to all involved.

CHEERS to a Windham woman who foiled the robbery of a neighbor’s home.

A 64-year-old woman saw two men in a neighbor’s home and went to investigate. She saw that the intruders had broken through two locked doors. The two suspects heard her and attempted to flee. They confronted the woman in the driveway of the home and one knocked her to the ground before getting into their vehicle and backing it into a snowbank.

At this point, the woman ran home and called police. When they arrived, one suspect fled on foot which the other continued trying to free the stuck vehicle from the snowbank.

Police arrested two Massachusetts men – Robert P. Dalton, 35, of Lowell and Vietnam M. Dang, 34, of Worcester – and charged them with burglary. Dalton also was charged with robbery.

For her own safety, the woman should have called police immediately rather than going over to check on her neighbor’s house alone. But we applaud her for her willingness to keep an eye on her neighborhood and taking action when something is amiss.

Law-abiding citizens must stick together in the fight against crime. Calling the police to report suspicious activity is the right thing to do.