HAVERHILL —A local man, with a suspended license led police on a high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle, at times reaching a speed of 80 miles per hour, according to police.

The man eventually crashed the vehicle and after trying to escape along the riverbank of the Merrimack River, was spotted by State Police officers hovering overhead in a helicopter.

Police charged Kristopher Graciale, 33, of 10 New Hampshire Ave., with failure to stop for police, speeding, receiving a stolen motor vehicle, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, marked lanes violation, operating with a suspended license (subsequent offense), wanton destruction of property and leaving the scene of property damage. 

Graciale was arraigned on the charges on June 4 in Haverhill District Court, where judge Richard Mori set bail at $50,000. The judge scheduled a pretrial hearing for July 1.

According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, on June 3, officer Michael Tortorise was on patrol in the High Street area when he noticed suspicious activity involving several men who entered the High Street Market.

The officer said that one of the men, whom he identified as Graciale, exited the store, drove off, but then returned to the area in a Dodge Caravan, where he picked up a male passenger.

Tortorise said the Caravan was listed as stolen. Graciale stopped at the corner of Baldwin and Shepherd streets to let out the male passenger, who ran up Shepherd Street towards Washington Street.

The officer said he pulled up alongside the Caravan, stepped out of his cruiser and ordered Graciale to stop, when Graciale told him "no" then swore at him and drove away.

Tortorise then followed Graciale on various streets in the Mt. Washington neighborhood and onto River Street (Route 110) heading west toward Methuen. Several other officers joined in the pursuit.

The officer said police lost sight of Graciale and called off the pursuit.

Police then received multiple calls from members of the public who said a man dressed in a white T-shirt and shorts was running from Fletcher Street and across River Street, to the Merrimack River.

Police came upon the stolen van, which had crashed into a guardrail at the intersection of Fletcher Street and Rosebud Avenue and was inoperable.

Tortorise said a State Police K-9 team and helicopter joined in the search, and Graciale was spotted in the brush near the river.

Graciale was soon apprehended and was cooperative with the officers who arrested him, police said.

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