A Greenfield man is facing several charges after he allegedly dragged a State Police trooper while fleeing a traffic stop along Interstate 91 in Holyoke on Friday before crashing his vehicle and running into the woods, where he was later found by a police K-9, State Police said.
Michael Williams Jr., 45, was identified as the driver of a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu that a trooper pulled over at a rest stop on the northbound side of the highway in Holyoke Friday afternoon, State Police said.
During the stop, the trooper was standing outside the Malibu and was “trying to secure the suspect when the suspect drove off,” State Police said in a statement.
The trooper was dragged “a short distance” as Williams began to drive away and hit the trooper’s cruiser and other vehicles, State Police said.
Once the trooper disengaged from the vehicle, he called the Northampton barracks for backup and then got into his cruiser and pursued the Malibu, State Police said. After “several minutes,” Williams allegedly crashed the Malibu off the road and then fled into nearby woods, heading toward Route 5.
The trooper was taken by ambulance to Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton where he was treated for “a lower body injury” and was released.
State and local police launched a search of the area and brought in multiple K9 teams to assist, State Police said. The Northampton Police Department used a drone to search from overhead, while Easthampton police launched a boat in the Connecticut River, which is just east of Route 5.
State Police alerted the public of the search in a social media post at 3:40 p.m. State Police Sergeant Jack Doherty and his K9 partner Roxy located Williams at 5:35 p.m. and took him into custody, the agency said.
Williams will be arraigned Monday in Northampton District Court on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, operating after license was suspended for prior OUI offense, leaving the scene of a crash that caused personal injury, failure to stop for police, speeding, marked lanes violation, and resisting arrest, State Police said.
State Police said Williams was on probation for a previous conviction and was held without bail for allegedly violating conditions of his probation.
The incident marked the second time in about a week that a Massachusetts State Trooper has been dragged by a vehicle fleeing a traffic stop.
Dashboard camera video of a stop in Brockton on Sept. 13 showed two uniformed troopers leaning toward the open driver’s side door of a parked Mercedes-Benz CLS 550 when the driver, later identified as 31-year-old Derek Lobo, began to speed away, dragging one of the troopers as they held onto to the driver’s side door.
The trooper appeared to lose his grip about 20 or 30 feet down the street and fell to the pavement, sliding a few feet. The trooper then ran back to the cruiser and got into the passenger seat as it pulled away in pursuit.
Following the traffic stop in Holyoke on Friday, Patrick McNamara, president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, issued a statement saying “enough is enough.”
“This reckless and blatant disregard for the lives of our members needs to stop,” McNamara said.
“We are relieved that the involved Trooper was not seriously injured and pleased that this fugitive was apprehended quickly thanks to the hard work and dedication of our Troopers and local Law Enforcement partners,” he continued. “Like we said last week, those who hurt our members will be tracked down and held to answer for their crimes.”
Travis Andersen of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.