Passed out in traffic with an unbuckled kid in the back.

Sometimes I feel like a blog entry could use a little commentary, just to make it more interesting, or a little funny. I think this one can stand on its own.

It was about 2:15 p.m., on Saturday, when police were called to the Rourke Bridge for a report of a man falling asleep at the wheel. An officer soon found a man in traffic at Wood Street and Princeton Boulevard, which, in past years at least, has been one of the most dangerous intersections in the state.

Police say the driver was asleep at the wheel, in traffic, with his chin resting on his chest as his car sat at a red light in drive. An officer approached, opened the driver’s side door, and reached inside in an attempt to put the car in park, police said.

As the office did that, police say Sean Stanek, 36, of 94 A St., Lowell, woke up, hit the gas, and dragged the officer 20 to 30 feet through traffic before the officer managed to free himself and fall into the street, suffering scrapes and bruises. The officer was okay. I spoke to him about two hours later.

Once the car was stopped, officers got Stanek out, and found a 3 to 4-year-old boy sitting in the back seat, unbuckled, according to police. Police say Stanek smelled of alcohol, had glassy eyes, and had a Dunkin Donuts cup full of liquor in the car, along with a bottle of Canadian Club whiskey.

While officers were arresting Stanek he began to struggle, but was soon subdued and handcuffed, police said. He is charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, child endangerment while under the influence, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (pavement), assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (car), failure to stop for police, resisting arrest, failure to restrain a child, and operating after suspension.

Stanek got locked up for Christmas. The child in the backseat got taken to Lowell General Hospital for Christmas, while police filed a 51A report with the Department of Children and Families, who later released the child into his mother’s custody.

In case grocery stores weren’t crazy enough today…

…A 33-year-old Billerica man walked into the Market Basket on Wood Street in Lowell and passed a note to an employee at the customer service counter demanding cash.

Cash he got, but he also got stopped on is way out the door by a manager and another employee who realized what was happening. As he was led into an upstairs office, the man tried to jump over a railing and escape, only to be held down until police could arrive about 3:50 p.m.

Herman Wiitala, 33, of 14 Charm Road, Billerica, was being held tonight on a single count of armed robbery. From what I hear detectives from another town are also interested in speaking to him regarding another recent crime. Stay tuned.

Holiday Shift – What I’m Chasing

I’m the only soul in the newsroom tonight and it sounds like there’s a few stories out there, but the spirit of giving, so far, doesn’t apply to information.

I’m hearing reports of serious accidents in both Burlington and Pepperell that occurred on the day shift, but both Burlington Police, Pepperell Police, and the District Attorney’s Office say no information is being released tonight. I’ll keep trying anyway.

There was reportedly an attempted robbery at Market Basket on Wood Street in Lowell this afternoon, but Lowell Police say reports on that are still being written.

The one thing I do have some information on is Sean Stanek, 36, of 94 A Street, Lowell.

Mr. Stanek was arrested about 2:30 p.m., and charged with operating under the influence, child endangerment while under the influence, failure to restrain a child, failure to stop for police, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (car), assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (pavement), resisting arrest, and operating after suspension.

Mr. Stanek has not yet been bailed and I’m told that reports on the incident that led to his arrest have not yet been approved, but I’m hearing that Stanek is accused of dragging a police officer with his car. The officer is injured, but will be okay.

I’ll definitely be writing more about this guy later. He’s still being held at LPD.

Stay safe and please keep it quite tonight, okay Lowell? Merry Christmas.

Three cars, a light pole, and vodka

Police got called to Gorham Street tonight for a report of a minivan runing amok. The minivan, pictured below, struck a Buick while driving inbound on the Lowell Connector, and then turned right onto Gorham Street.

The minivan continued on Gorham Street, where it struck a Dodge, and then clipped a Kia at Gorham and Central streets.

On Gorham Street, near Butler Avenue, the minivan struck a metal light pole, snapping it at the base and knocking it into the street.

Police found the minivan where it is pictured above, with it’s front, driver’s side wheel bent at a 90 degree angle from the car.

Here is some video of firefighters and EMT’s extricating the driver and getting him to an ambulance, and of the minivan being towed.

Police say the driver, John Currie, 55, of Coburn Avenue, in Dracut, was taken to Lowell General Hospital, where he was still being treated when I got a report on this crash about 11 p.m.

“He tried to drive away as (officers) approached him, even though he was stuck on the median,” said Capt. Thomas Meehan.

Police say Currie was not arrested since he was taken to LGH. Police say Currie told officers he thought he had about a pint of vodka, though officers found three empty vodka bottles in the back of his minivan.

Above is the light pole that was knocked down. It isn’t pictured where it initially fell. Firefighters picked it up and moved it out of Gorham Street.

Police say Currie will be summonsed to Lowell District Court to face charges of operating under the influence of liquor and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

Drivers of the vehicles he allegedly struck were not hurt.

Bridge Street Gas Station Robbed

Police just went off at I&M Gas, 447 Bridge Street, in Lowell, because two men robbed the store while displaying a black handgun and a large machette at 6:27 p.m.

Both suspects are described as Hispanic males, both are about 17-years-0ld, and both are wearing gray hoodies, according to police radio broadcasts. Both individuals are between 5’5 and 5’6.

One had a black handgun, the other had a “large machette.”

I think all machette’s are large, but that’s beside the point.

The men fled toward Fourth Street or the area behind Manning’s Liquors. If you have any information on who or where they are, call Lowell Police immediately at 978.937.3200.

If you want to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers at 978-459-TIPS (8477). Information can also be sent to police via Text-a-Tip, by texting TIP411 (847411) with the subject “LPDTIP.”
Tipsters can remain anonymous, but can receive up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.