A Springfield driver is now facing multiple charges following an overnight crash that resulted in damage to a building in East Longmeadow. According to the East Longmeadow Police, an incident occurred around 1:30 a.m. Thursday when a police sergeant on patrol near the Center Square rotary spotted a Jeep entering the rotary from Somers Road without coming to a halt at the stop sign. The Jeep proceeded through the rotary and then turned onto North Main Street. In response, the sergeant activated his cruiser’s lights to pull the driver over for the stop sign violation. However, instead of complying, the Jeep fled at a high rate of speed north on North Main Street. The Jeep’s driver proceeded to overtake several other vehicles, prompting the police to terminate the pursuit. East Longmeadow Police Chief Mark Williams explained, “It’s a tough decision for officers to make at the time [because] there’s a safety interest and obviously apprehending somebody who’s engaged in dangerous behavior, but there’s also a risk to the public as you’re trying to apprehend that person.”
Following the incident, the sergeant continued traveling north on North Main Street and observed the Jeep veer off the road near the intersection of Harkness Avenue and North Main Street, appearing to go airborne before crashing into the corner of a Jiffy Lube establishment on North Main Street. The sergeant promptly assessed the condition of the driver, identified as 30-year-old Joseph Tetreault from Springfield, and determined that Tetreault was the sole occupant of the Jeep and claimed not to have sustained any injuries. Subsequently, Tetreault was taken into custody and charged with multiple offenses, including operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, failing to stop at a stop sign, evading law enforcement, and reckless operation of a motor vehicle. Police Chief Williams emphasized that the situation could have been avoided if the driver had pulled over upon seeing the flashing police lights.
Drivers are strongly advised to respond promptly when they see police lights, pulling over without hesitation, regardless of whether they are aware of the reason for the lights or believe they are the intended target for a stop, as Chief Williams explained. Taking immediate action to slow down and stop is the safest course of action when encountering police lights. It has been reported that Jiffy Lube officials will commence necessary repairs at their facility under the guidance of the East Longmeadow building inspector, with hopes of reopening in the near future. Despite attempts to contact Jiffy Lube for comment, no response has been received. A spokesperson for Western Mass News confirmed through a voicemail message that the Jiffy Lube location is currently closed. Cleanup of debris is being handled by a contractor, and a structural engineer will assess and inspect the building, subsequently filing a final report. The store’s reopening timeframe will depend on the findings of the structural engineer, with an estimated closure duration of 2-3 days.