FITCHBURG — At 8:34 p.m. on Sunday, May 15, Officer Daniel Minichiello was at the intersection of Mount Globe and Simonds streets, when a gray Honda Civic without a front license plate almost crashed into the front of his cruiser.
When Minichiello turned on his overhead lights to pull the Civic over, the driver didn’t stop.
Instead, the Civic blew through a stop sign while taking a left turn onto Simonds Street, then sped down High Street and turned right onto Academy Street. The driver then ran the redlight at the intersection of Academy and Main streets before striking a curb, knocking his car out of commission.
The driver, who was later identified as Jose Enrique Garcia, 19, of 217 West Street, jumped out of his car and hightailed it passed Awoken Eye Tattoo toward the wooded area between the Rollstone Street Bridge and the DPW Yard on Broad Street.
After abandoning his vehicle, Minichiello saw “in plain view” a loaded black revolver under the center console; dangling from the driver side door, was a bag of crack.
“While looking inside of the vehicle and not going into the vehicle, I was also able to see a white rock-like substance inside of a clear plastic baggie on the handle of the driver side door. In my training and experience, I recognized this to be a Class B Drug Crack Cocaine,” wrote Minichiello in his statement of facts.
Minichiello then called the Massachusetts State Police crime and ballistics units to the scene, who eventually apprehended Garcia, sending him to the Leominster Hospital (the police report doesn’t indicate how Garcia was apprehended or why he was sent to Leominster Hospital). During the investigation, the ballistics team also discovered that the serial number on Garcia’s revolver had been “defaced.”
Then, while he was being transported from Leominster Hospital to the Fitchburg Police station, Garcia punched and “completely shattered” the rear window of Minichiello’s cruiser.
In addition to two warrants out for his arrest, Garcia was charged with the following: number plate violation, fail[ure] to stop/yield (two counts), speed exceeding the posted limit, fail[ure] to stop for police, marked lanes violation, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, possession of a Class B drug, carrying a loaded firearm without a license (two counts), deface[ment] of a firearm’s serial number and vandalizing property.
Garcia was arraigned on May 16 in Fitchburg District Court, where he was held without bail for a dangerousness hearing that took place on May 19. During the May 19 dangerousness hearing, where Garcia represented himself, it was initially determined by Judge Haddad that Garcia was “dangerous without prejudice.” Haddad had to postpone the remainder of the hearing until May 26, when Garcia will have a court appointed attorney.