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.

“I don’t know what they were thinking.”

An entire first alarm response, at least two engines, a ladder truck, the rescue, a deputy chief, and police, rushed to the former Giant Mill at 305 Dutton Street tonight about 6 p.m., after someone spotted a fire on the roof.

The entire building was evacuated, and firefighters rushed to the roof, where they found a crew of roofers.

Photo by Tory Germann.

The roofers, according to Deputy Fire Chief Patrick McCabe, were working on the roof in the dark and filled a 5-gallon bucket with rags, and then used an accelerant to light the rags on fire as a means of providing themselves with some light to work by.

“I don’t know what they were thinking,” McCabe said.

Firefighters made sure the fire was out and that it had not extended to the building, and then ordered the roofers go call it a day.

Residents were allowed back into the building shortly after firefighters turned off the building’s fire alarm, which had been activated.

Cab Driver Accused of Offering More than Rides

Police arrested a cab driver, Charles Schafer, 28, of Lowell, in the area of 80 Bridge Street tonight about 8 p.m., after narcotics detectives saw Schafer conduct a hand-to-hand drug transaction in a Centralville parking lot while driving a cab, police said.

Detectives with the Special Investigations Unit were conducting surveillance on street-level drug dealing in an undisclosed part of Centralville when they saw Schafer conduct what they believed was a drug deal, police said. They followed him and pulled over his cab on Bridge Street, and found a small amount of Suboxone and cash in his cab, police said.

Schafer was charged with possession of a class B substance, distribution of a class B substance, distribution of a class B substance in a school zone, possession of a class B substance with intent to distribute, and possession of a class B substance with intent to distribute in a school zone.

Police did not immediately identify the company he was driving for, and I couldn’t see any markings on his yellow cab. Another driver for the company met police at the scene of the arrest and drove the cab away.

Car Versus 170-year-old School

Officer Rob Rayne was patrolling on Rogers Street tonight when a car sped past him in the opposite direction, heading toward the Concord River.

Rayne turned his cruiser around to stop that car, just in time to see it careen through a chain link fence at the Moody School, speed across a playground, and slam into the 170-year-old brick wall of the school. Rayne called for ambulances and firefighters at 7:50 p.m.

I arrived a couple minutes later to find this.

Trinity and Fire cared for the 17-year-old male driver, who is from Lowell, and a 15-year-old Lowell girl who was a passenger in the car. Both were said to have non life-threatening injuries. Police are now tracking down two young, male passengers who fled the car.

A woman who lives nearby on Astor Street told me she heard the collision and saw a man running slowly past her house as if he were injured. He wore a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt. I think police are still searching for him at this hour.

“He looked like he was hurt,” she said.

Rayne saw those two men flee, but his first priority was giving medical aid to the two who remained in the car.

Firefighters helped clean up a lot of oil, fluids and debris in the asphalt outside the school, where the neighbor told me kids play and have gym class during school hours. “It’s a good thing this wasn’t during the day,” the woman said. “The kids are always out here.”

The 1990 Saab convertible involved in the crash was stolen from a garage on Lawrence Street, but when it was stolen is unclear.

The Moody School was built in 1841, and to compare the craftsmanship from back then with the strength of a modern car, simply compare the photo above with the photo below, which is of the exact spot where the car hit.

Moody School Principal Roberta Keefe told me she went inside the school to check for damage, and that nothing was even knocked off the walls or windowsill.

Deputy Superintendent for Operations and Finance Jay Lang said classes on Monday will not be impacted. He asked Keefe to block off the playground until city crews could make sure it was clear of glass, debris, and fluids.

Police tell me the 17-year-old driver will face several motor vehicle charges, including receiving stolen motor vehicle. He was taken to the hospital and will be summonsed to court to face those charges, so police have not released his name yet.

The circumstances under which the car was stolen remain under investigation. It might be a very long night for the young man who was driving this car.

Here’s some video of a patient being taken to an ambulance, cleanup, the fence the car went through, the trail of fluids it left, and the car being towed from the scene.

Five-month-old boy left facedown in the yard, in a diaper…

…at night, in early December.

“I’m sorry,” is what I heard the boy’s father, Christopher Dalphond, 26, tell Lowell Police over and over as he sat on his front porch in handcuffs Monday night at 119 Lilley Avenue.

He had said as much about a dozen times before an officer finally chastized him, asking Dalphond why he kept apologizing instead of asking about his baby’s well-being, or even where the boy had been taken.

Police were called to 119 Lilley Avenue about 9:51 p.m., for a report of someone screaming. They found the baby, who’s extremities were cold the touch, laying facedown in the backyard, wearing nothing but a diaper, according to police. Police said they found Dalphond hiding under a canoe nearby in the backyard.

The boy was taken immediately to Lowell General Hospital. I arrived to find Dalphond sitting on his front stoop, apologizing and talking to police. Police believed the boy’s mother was in the second-floor apartment, but couldn’t enter because of two dogs that were loose inside. Dalphond agreed she was up there and said he didn’t know why she wouldn’t come to the door.

Dalphond told police he takes methadone, but that he’s been clean for a while.

Once Animal Control Officer Robert Pickard secured the dogs, police searched and realized that the mother wasn’t home. That’s when Dalphond mentioned she was working. I’m not sure if Dalphond initially gave police a false name, but after an officer asked him what “your real date of birth is,” officers determined he was wanted on a default warrant.

He was arrested on that and held overnight. By the time he was in Lowell District Court this morning Dalphond had also been charged with child endangerment.

Lowell Police contacted the Department of Children and Families, which released the child into the custody of his 24-year-old mother, who, at least until last night, lives with Dalphond.

Despite being taken to court on a default warrant issued by Concord District Court, Dalphond was released on person recognizance at his arraignment.