THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Wild chase on Pike ends with rammed cruisers, arrest

By John M. Guilfoil and John R. Ellement
Globe Staff / June 29, 2010

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FRAMINGHAM — A driver enraged at a request that he turn down his music reportedly tried to run down a man and his grandson in the South End yesterday and then led State Police on a harrowing 20-mile chase on the Massachusetts Turnpike that ended when the suspect rammed police cruisers, spun out of control, and attempted to flee on foot, police said.

“Several cruisers had the suspect’s vehicle boxed in,’’ said State Police spokesman David Procopio. “He barreled through those cruisers, struck several of them, at least three of them, and ultimately spun out.’’

A shirtless Alejandro E. Serra, 29, of Framingham — whose right to drive in Massachusetts was revoked in 2004 and who faces unrelated charges of assault and drug possession — leaped from the borrowed Mazda he was driving and began to run as State Police converged on him.

One trooper can be seen on a WBZ-TV news helicopter video flipping the driver over and throwing several punches at him on the ground.

Procopio told reporters at the Boston barracks yesterday that superior officers will review the chase and the use of force. A review is standard procedure after all pursuits.

This was “a suspect who rammed three police cruisers and almost struck a pedestrian, an adult man with his grandson, in a crosswalk,’’ Procopio said. “We don’t lose sight of that either, but obviously we will, without bias, review the culmination of the pursuit and how the suspect was apprehended.’’

Public records show Serra has a long record of driving infractions and recent involvement with the courts. On April 16, he was arraigned on drug possession charges after a maintenance worker at the Framingham YMCA allegedly found him going through lockers. According to court documents, Serra admitted to smoking methamphetamine that day. When he was arrested, police found a pipe and a white substance believed to be methamphetamine on him, said Jessica Venezia Pastore, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney.

This month, he was arraigned on an assault and battery charge in Framingham, in which Serra is accused of arguing with his 67-year-old roommate and pushing him, causing him to hit his head, Venezia Pastore said.

Serra failed to appear June 10 in Boston Municipal Court on a March 21 trespassing case in Boston, and a default warrant was issued for his arrest, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

Serra, who has a Rhode Island driver’s license, was suspended from driving in Massachusetts after he failed to pay the fine on a July 2004 speeding ticket in Westwood, said Ann Dufresne, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Serra continued to drive, Dufresne said, and continued to receive traffic tickets, including one for driving to endanger in Attleboro in September 2005. Lisa Rowell, a spokeswoman for the Bristol district attorney’s office, said Serra was sentenced in November 2005 to jail time and probation for that incident.

“State Police are glad we were there to get him off the road,’’ Procopio said in a phone interview last night. “And we are glad that if he had to crash into anybody, it was us and not any innocent motorist who had the misfortune to be sharing the road with this defendant.’’

The Mazda that Serra was driving yesterday belongs to another Framingham man who had allowed him to use it, said Procopio.

Procopio said yesterday’s incident started when the man and his grandson, whose names were not released, were walking near Columbus Avenue and Wellington Street around 11:45 a.m. when the grandfather complained to Serra about his loud music. Serra became infuriated, shouted at the two, and allegedly tried to run over them.

The grandfather flagged down a nearby State Police trooper and reported the incident. A few moments later, the trooper spotted Serra still behind the wheel on Wellington Street and pulled alongside him. Serra drove toward the trooper, forcing him to back out of the way before taking off down the street, Procopio said.

The trooper caught up with the car near the intersection of Tremont Street and Marginal Road and tried to stop him again.

Instead, Serra allegedly drove onto the westbound Massachusetts Turnpike, where other cruisers joined the pursuit. The chase continued until four cruisers surrounded the vehicle.

Procopio said that a State Police superior officer monitored the chase from headquarters, making sure the risk to civilians was minimal.

Shortly before Serra spun out, he struck several State Police cruisers trying to force him to stop. Serra got out of the car and took a few steps before troopers caught him. Procopio said one trooper suffered minor injuries while subduing him.

Serra is a foreign national. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a detainer on him and is investigating, an agency spokesman said last night.

Procopio said Serra will face two charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, the car, on the pedestrians in Boston, and three charges of assault and battery for striking the cruisers.

Serra is also charged with operating with a suspended license, failing to stop for police, reckless operation, marked lanes violation, disorderly conduct, failure to stop at a crosswalk, speeding, and resisting arrest.

Serra will be arraigned today in Boston Municipal Court.

John M. Guilfoil can be reached at jguilfoil@globe.com.

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