WOBURN — A high-speed police chase that began in Lawrence Wednesday morning and hurtled through Woburn, Billerica, and Wilmington ended about a half-hour later with the lockdown of an elementary school and a dramatic arrest inside a health club.
“It’s scary; this world’s scary,” said Matt Tiberii, a tennis instructor at the Woburn Racquet Club, who watched in shock as troopers and police officers with weapons drawn surrounded one of the suspects in the club’s entryway.
Two Boston men, 23-year-old Keith Jones and 20-year-old Odain Mark, were expected to be arraigned Thursday, according to State and Wilmington police. Mark had an outstanding warrant on a charge of resisting arrest and he faces various motor vehicle charges; Jones is also expected to face charges related to the pursuit and other motor vehicle violations, according to State Police.
Officers in Lawrence had initially attempted to stop the vehicle at around 10 a.m. as part of an “ongoing investigation,” upon which officials declined to elaborate.
During the chase, which was briefly called off for safety reasons because the vehicle was going up to 90 miles per hour in a dense area, Mark allegedly bailed out of the car on Ward Street in Woburn. authorities said. Jones, who was driving, kept on going, according to police.
Mark wound up a short distance away on Webster Street at the Racquet Club.
Desk attendant Jodie Ferioli said she was at the front desk when a young man in a black Dave & Buster’s sweatshirt came in, talking to someone on his cellphone.
“Can you tell me where I am?” he asked Ferioli, before asking to use the men’s room. He was polite and calm and looked very young, Ferioli said, and she just assumed his car had broken down.
But as he made his way to the bathroom, club manager Rick Cooney called Ferioli. Police were searching for a suspect in a black sweatshirt, he told her.
“Oh my God!” Ferioli said she replied. “He’s in the bathroom!”
Cooney alerted police, and Ferioli began hustling the approximately 40 club and staff members into offices and away from the bathroom. On the courts, instructors told players to get up against the walls and down on the ground.
Local police officers and troopers with rifles drawn then swarmed the club, witnesses said.
As the suspect walked out of the bathroom, officers grabbed him, hustled him out the door and out into the parking lot, where he was arrested.
The second suspect, Jones, made it to Wilmington after Mark jumped out, according to police. Jones allegedly abandoned the car in the parking lot of Shawsheen Elementary School and tried to flee on foot before police captured him.
The school was locked down for about 25 minutes while officers searched the area, according to State Police and Wilmington’s public schools superintendent.
State Police said they were assisting Lawrence, Wilmington, and Woburn police. A State Police dog named Dakota was injured during the search, but is expected to recover. No other injuries were reported.