The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 17, 2003


Foiled burglary ends with car chase and roll-over

After crawling out of the car wreck, one of the handcuffed suspects is stabilized with a neck brace and backboard. (Photos by Rik Pierce)
A foiled burglary and a dramatic police chase through the center of town last Tuesday morning ended on Lowell Street with the car flipped on its roof and its two occupants, amazingly unhurt, under arrest.

The story began with an alert East Street resident who called police at 11:35 a.m. to report two suspicious people on her property. One was a man knocking at her door and the other was a man in a strange car parked in her drive. She did not answer the door but called the police. While she was waiting for the police, the car drove around to the back of the house and parked there. Police Officer Andy Booth was first on the scene, followed closely by Inspector Scott Barnes.

When the two men saw Booth, who had followed them to the back of the house, they sped off over the bushes, around the police cars and onto East Street, with the cruisers following closely. At the center rotary they turned and sped up Lowell Street. "They were going 100 miles an hour!" an eyewitness said. At 280 Lowell Street the car hit a telephone pole and a stone wall, and flipped over in the middle of the roadway.

Although someone at the scene observed, "When I saw the car upside down with the top smashed, I didn't see how anyone got out of there alive," the two men, Francis E. McLaughlin, 34, and John J. Zieba, 45, both of Leominster, did get out of the overturned vehicle by themselves. Fire Chief David Flannery said they were able to escape from the car through a very small opening. One immediately ran off into the woods, where he was followed and soon apprehended by Barnes. The other lay on the road, partially stunned. However, he was able to stand and was stabilized with a collar and a backboard by EMT Frank Sargent and Deputy Fire Chief Jonathan White.

Both men were arrested and transported in the town ambulance to Emerson Hospital for evaluation, accompanied by Barnes and Booth.

Drugs found in car

McLaughlin and Zieba have a number of charges, including attempted breaking and entering, failure to stop for an officer, possession of a stolen license plate (from Westford) and another stolen license plate inside the car (from Lowell). Police Chief David Galvin indicated that the pair was also charged with a number of traffic violations, including driving to endanger, speeding and failure to yield at the rotary. Both men have done time and have a record of theft and drug charges, according to Galvin.

Back at the station, Lieutenant John Sullivan found that the black knapsack taken from the car contained a quantity of heroin packets and two needles, which resulted in additional charges for possession of a controlled substance.

Both McLaughlin and Zieba were released from the hospital late Tuesday afternoon and returned to the custody of the Carlisle Police. They were arraigned in court on Wednesday.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito