November 11, 2004

Further on the Traffic Mess

Here’s a better story on the reckless car thief who caused so many people grief yesterday on I-195.

The Herald News reports how Elvis Rodriguez went loopy after trying to steal a car from a park and ride in Somerset.

Smith said the situation began to develop just after 3 p.m. when Rodriguez, who was released from the Bristol County House of Correction in early October after serving time for “numerous traffic offenses, drugs and larceny,” was attempting to steal a car from the Park and Ride on Route 103.

The suspect had the hood of the car open and was trying to hot-wire the vehicle when its owner approached him. At that point, Smith said, Rodriguez pulled a screwdriver on the man and threatened to kill him.

Apparently, this is a “go with your strengths” situation. Unfortunately, getting away was not one of the strengths.

What follows is a cross between GTA3 and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

Around 3:30 p.m., Smith said Somerset police began receiving numerous 911 calls and responded to the area.

A passerby told Patrolman Lance Mello that Rodriguez had headed south on Brayton Point Road. Mello went down the road and turned east onto O’Neil Road, looking for the suspect.

Rodriguez then entered O’Neil Road at high speed, almost striking Mello’s cruiser, as he drove onto a sidewalk and headed west.

As the suspect went west on O’Neil Road, Patrolman Jared Linhares was approaching from the east when Rodriguez swerved into his lane.

Linhares and Mello turned around and chased Rodriguez north on Brayton Point Road, east on Route 103 to the rotary at Riverside Avenue, south on Riverside Avenue, west on Alden Place and back onto Route 103 west.

On Route 103 west, Rodriguez, crossed over the eastbound lane and drove down the I-195 west off-ramp.

Linhares and Mello followed Rodriguez down the ramp and watched him cross three lanes of traffic, heading east in the westbound high speed lane, Smith said.

“They felt helpless at that point, because something was bound to happen,” Smith said.

Once the suspect entered I-195 west, Smith said the police officers temporarily called off their pursuit, but then went onto the highway after hearing a crash.

I spent around 2 hours on the road, with a few thousand other people because this guy didn’t know when he was in a losing situation. After reading the chase description, I made a map of his trip.

It appears he was trying to get back to Fall River, but was not familiar with the area. Either that, or he thought he could hide in the side streets near the river. But once you’ve gone back there, there’s nowhere else to go—no back door. So he had already lost. He was lucky enough to get by the cruiser when he got back onto Brayton Point Road, but when he drove up toward the Brightman Street Bridge, he must have seen the traffic up there and realized there was no way he’d make it. So he passed through the Brayton Point Road intersection 3 times, the last time when he ironically finally found access to the highway right near where he started, but in the wrong direction.

It’s lucky no one was killed. The worst it meant to me was that hours were wasted on a night I had plans with my wife, and I ended up smelling like diesel fuel. I hope the woman they took away on a stretcher is OK.

Posted by James at November 11, 2004 10:53 AM
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So, if he'd taken a left on Brayton Pt. Rd instead of a right, he probably would have gotten away.

Posted by: Julie at November 11, 2004 2:32 PM

Quite possibly. Or if he'd taken a right out of the Park and Ride and just gotten on the highway. It would ahve helped if he hadn't hit 4 cars on the way out of the lot, though. Tends to make your car even more conspicuous.

However, the police seem to have been really on the ball getting there quickly. So they might have caught up to him on the highway anyhow. He didn't have long to think about it.

Posted by: James at November 11, 2004 2:39 PM

Nce map. Say, I thought the Brightman St. Bridge was gone!

So, basically, he went in a circle. What a moron.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 11, 2004 2:40 PM

But the right on Brayton Point road was definitely the worst possible choice, looking at the map.

Posted by: James at November 11, 2004 2:41 PM

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