Authorities on Tuesday arrested three people in connection with a early morning traffic stop in Fall River in which a State Police trooper was dragged approximately than 100 feet, officials said.
New Bedford residents Maria Melendez Rivera, 41, and her son, Steven Melendez, 22, were charged with assault and battery on a police officer. Melendez’s girlfriend, Keyshy Resto Alejandro, 27, was charged with interfering with a police officer.
Melendez-Rivera’s lawyer didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment, and it was not immediately clear if her son and his girlfriend had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.
According to State Police, the incident unfolded around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday when a trooper stopped an uninsured 2011 Honda Accord on Pleasant Street.
The driver, later identified as Resto Alejandro, told the trooper she didn’t have her license on her and that the car belonged to someone else, State Police said in a statement. Melendez was a passenger in the vehicle.
The trooper told the pair the vehicle would be towed and advised them to call someone for a ride, police said, and Melendez Rivera later arrived in a silver Hyundai.
The trooper determined Melendez Rivera was the registered owner of the Accord he had pulled over and that her son had three open arrest warrants from New Bedford District Court, including one “in connection with a shooting,” police said.
The trooper tried to arrest Melendez, but he “broke free and ran into the Hyundai” that Melendez Rivera had pulled up in, police said.
By that time, officials said, Resto Alejandro has gotten into the Hyundai. The trooper ran up to the car and tried to pull Melendez out of the vehicle, police said. Melendez Rivera, who was behind the wheel, immediately sped away, police said.
“The Trooper held onto Melendez who was kicking and pushing the Trooper, while the Hyundai accelerated,” police said. “After being dragged for about a block, the Trooper disengaged from the suspect and fell onto the pavement as the Hyundai sped away.”
The injured trooper was taken to a hospital and later discharged, returning to his shift shortly after 4 a.m., police said.
Melendez Rivera was arrested around 12:15 p.m. Tuesday on Interstate 195 eastbound in Westport on multiple charges related2 to the incident, including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on a police officer, police said.
Her arraignment was expected Wednesday in Fall River District Court. Her son and his girlfriend were also arrested Tuesday in Rhode Island after authorities learned Melendez may have been staying at a Warwick, R.I. hotel.
Officials stopped Melendez’s car shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday after spotting it on a ramp from Jefferson Boulevard in Warwick onto Interstate 95.
Melendez and Resto Alejandro, who was a passenger in the car, were both taken into custody.
“Among the police officers present for [Melendez’s] arrest was the MSP Trooper who was dragged by the motor vehicle” earlier in Fall River, State Police said.
Melendez was also arrested on the warrants charging him with a motor vehicle offense, vandalism, and “firearm and assault charges stemming from a 2021 shooting” in New Bedford, police said.
Resto Alejandro was also charged with accessory after the fact for allegedly helping Melendez flee.
Melendez was arraigned as a fugitive from justice Wednesday in Providence and was ordered held on $50,000 surety or $5,000 cash bail, records show.
Resto Alejandro was ordered held on $12,000 surety or $1,200 cash bail.
This breaking news story will be updated when more information is released.
Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.