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Nine hurt in four-car Leominster crash

Three children among injured in police chase

A high-speed police chase following a theft in Lancaster ended in a four-car crash in neighboring Leominster that injured nine people, including three children, police said.

James O. Barrett, 26, of Leominster, stole a purse at Kimball Farm on Route 70 in Lancaster, then fled in his car, said Leominster police Sergeant Emanuel Tocci. Lancaster police followed the suspect until he crossed into Leominster.

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Barrett allegedly sped past three cars, including a police cruiser, on Lancaster Street in Leominster in the wrong lane of a two-way street. The officer estimated the vehicle was going 80 to 90 miles per hour, Tocci said. The officer began to follow the suspect and less than a mile down the street saw the four-vehicle crash.

A preliminary investigation showed that Barrett’s vehicle, a Toyota, rear-ended a Hyundai traveling in the same direction, sending the Hyundai into an oncoming Honda in the opposite lane, Tocci said. Seeing the collision, the driver of a Chrysler traveling behind the Honda swerved and hit a brick wall in front of 637 Lancaster St. Barrett’s vehicle rolled over several times, Tocci said, ejecting him. He allegedly attempted to flee on foot, but was apprehended.

Barrett sustained serious head injuries and was taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.

Eight other people, including three children, were taken to hospitals. Five of the eight suffered serious injuries, Tocci said. He believed four of the victims were still hospitalized Monday, but he did not know their conditions.

Tocci said charges are expected to be filed against Barrett. The incident is under investigation by Lancaster and Leominster police and the Worcester district attorney’s office.

Kiera Blessing can be reached at kiera.blessing@globe.com.
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