The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 30, 2004


High-speed police chase ends in arrest

Carlisle Police were involved in a high-speed chase last Friday, January 23, after a passing motorist on Heald Road reported a speeding car to the Carlisle Police. Alerting the Bedford Police by cell phone, Carlisle cruisers pursued the vehicle down Route 225 into Bedford where Robert Tocco, age 33, of Beverly, was arrested near the intersection of Carlisle Road and Route 4. Tocco was charged with the following: failure to stop for a police officer, operating with a suspended license, speeding, attaching plates, and operating under the influence of drugs. No charges were filed against the two passengers, an 18-year-old boy and a 41-year-old man, who had been painting a Heald Road house with Tocco.

Carlisle Police Inspector Scott Barnes said it all started as a supposedly routine follow-up on a call about a suspicious vehicle on Heald Road. The motorist who called the police was concerned by how fast Tocco's car pulled out of a driveway on Heald Road and continued speeding to Route 225, where it turned eastward. The Carlisle cruiser spotted it on Westford Street, near the Town Hall, and signalled for it to stop (for a taillight violation). Tocco ignored the cruiser's flashing lights and continued speeding eastward on Route 225, followed by the Carlisle cruiser. A second and third Carlisle cruiser joined the chase.

Bedford brought two cruisers and stop bars — bars with spikes that flatten tires — for the roadway. Tocco sped around the bars and was eventually brought to a stop by a road block of Bedford Police vehicles and by the Carlisle police car that pinned his vehicle to the left side of the road. The other Carlisle cruisers were manned by officers Andrew Booth and Steven Mack.

Following the high-speed chase into Bedford, the Carlisle Police squeeze the motorist off the road and place the offender in handcuffs. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)
Barnes said the ability to talk directly to Bedford Police, using cell phones supplied by the NEMLEC (Northeast Law Enforcement Council), contributed to the successful arrest. His cruiser sustained only minor damage.

"An extremely dangerous situation"

Mosquito staff writer Cynthia Sorn was returning from Boston with her son and saw the speeding car and the pursuing cruiser with flashing lights. She turned and followed the cruiser to Route 4, where there was a congregation of police vehicles, two from Bedford and by now three from Carlisle. Since she did not have her digital camera in the car, Sorn went into the nearby Gammy's Store and purchased a disposable camera to document the arrest.

"They were going very fast" said Sorn. "It was an extremely dangerous situation."

Barnes confirmed the difficulty and diciness of a high-speed chase in two-way traffic. The Carlisle Police Department has a written policy on pursuits. According to Police Chief David Galvin there are two kinds of pursuits, immediate and prolonged, with speed, the seriousness of the offense, road conditions and other factors contributing to the decision to pursue. The officer of the day makes the decision when one is required.

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito