Lets Hope…

…that the bad guy in this little story is better at plowing than he is at stealing.
Barbara Elkareh tells me she was coming home from the City of Lights Parade with her 9-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, who had been in the parade, when Elkareh saw a guy on Cross Street having trouble with a plow on the front of his truck.
Elkareh and her husband, Tony Elkareh, run a plow in the winter for the city, so she stopped and tried to give the guy some advice. The guy seemed weird, brushed her off, and Elkareh continued home to Marsh Street.
When she got there, she realized the brand new $5,000 plow that had been in her driveway was gone.
Elkarah didn’t need much time to figure out what was up.
She rushed back and saw the guy she had spoken to now pushing the plow down Cross Street, even though it wasn’t hooked up to his truck correctly and was dragging against the asphault, throwing off sparks.
Finally, the would-be thief gave up. He dropped the plow and disconnected it from his truck at Cross and Mount Vernon streets, shouted some choice words at Elkareh, and took off up Mount Vernon Street with her chasing after him.

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Elkareh said the would-be thief was even nice enough to make a particular hand gesture at her several times out the window as she followed him up Mount Vernon Street.
She lost the truck on Salem Street, and now police are looking for that black or dark blue, newer model pickup truck with a hookup for a plow on the front and yellow lights on the top.
The plow was recovered, and Tony Elkareh was hooking it up to take it home as I left the scene tonight.
Anyone with information on the suspect here should call Lowell Police at 978-937-3200.

Pedestrian Safety

Lowell Safety Officer Paul Corcoran called me the other night to see if I’d be interested in writing a bit about pedestrian safety, and after the events of the past week who could possibly say no?
I was going to do a longer story for the paper, but there just wasn’t space for it tonight, but for anyone who’s been thinking about this kind of thing after five pretty serious pedestrian accidents in the area over the past couple weeks, here are some tips.
• Always walk on the sidewalk, but if there is no sidewalk walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
• Use the crosswalks painted on the roadways and stay within the lines.
• Cross at intersections and don’t exit between cars where drivers are not expecting you to come out.
• Try to cross at intersections with traffic lights and push the button to get cars to stop for you.
• Never walk along or try to cross highways where pedestrians are prohibited.
• Obey all traffic signals and signs.
• Stay alert for cars pulling out of driveways and side streets.
• Stop at the curb
• Look left, look right, then look left again before stepping into the street.
• Continue looking for traffic as you cross the street and make eye contact with drivers.
• Walk, don’t run as you cross
• Always pay attention! If you are distracted you may not see or hear a car coming.
Here are some more tips for parents who want to make sure their kids are safe.
• Kids need to be seen by drivers, and parents can help by dressing kids in bright colors rather than dark colors.
• If walking at night, reflective clothing tape can be used to make pedestrians more visible.
• Flashlights or blinking lights can be used to make pedestrians more visible in low light situations.
• Parents should make sure that children wear good, rubbed-soled walking shoes before they leave home.
• Parents should make sure shoes are tied well and will not come undone on the way to school.
• Don’t allow children to cross the street by themselves.
• Don’t allow kids to play or walk near traffic. Kids are small and unpredictable. Drivers may not see them and kids cannot accurately judge vehicle distances and speed.
• Hold hands with kids when walking together and do not allow them to walk in front or behind you.
• Never allow children under 10-years-old to cross the street alone.
• Have children walking alone follow direct routes with the fewest number of street crossings.
• Teach your child never to run out into the street after a ball, a pet, or for any other reason.
• Make sure children know how to cross 10 feet in front of a school bus, never behind, and to wait for adults on the same side of teh street as the school bus loading or unloading zone.
• Follow the directions of any crossing guards.
• Always know which route your child takes to walk to school.

Driver ID’ed – No Charges

For those who remember the nasty accident on Gorham Street that I wrote about a while back, and that some folks had video of, the driver in that incident was identified by police today.
Police say Robert Hurley, 27, of 305 Dutton St., was driving the Jeep Laredo that night, but will not face any charges.
Hurley was driving a Jeep Laredo registered to William Hurley, of 15 Clinton St., when he struck Michael Howell, 31, of Lowell, as he stood in the middle of Gorham Street near the Trainview Pub on Nov. 8, about 1:40 a.m.
Howell was thrown about 10-feet by the impact, which was captured on video. He spent about a week at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston.

Serious Stabbing

It sounds like things went south fast on Middlesex Street tonight about 10:22 p.m.
Police got a call for a domestic in progress at 1149 Middlesex St., from a neighbor, and almost immediately the incident turned into a stabbing.
Police arrived to find a 47-year-old man suffering a serious, and “very deep” stab wound to his abdomen, according to police and radio broadcasts.
That guy was rushed out of the house by EMTs and paramedics, yelling “I’m in agony. Give me something,” as he was wheeled into an ambulance and taken to Lahey Clinic in Burlington.

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Folks at the scene didn’t seem to be terribly cooperative, but a middle-aged woman with dark hair was taken into the police station by a detective. She was not handcuffed.
Police are still waiting for word from the hospital on whether the injury was life-threatening. They’re guarding the house in case it turns out that it is.
This is the house where it happened.

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UPDATE: No charges, police said the woman at the scene was a 30-year-old Lowell woman, but they declined to identify either person involved. The stabbing victim is expected to recover.

Unbelievable – It Happened Again

It’s starting to seem like crosswalks might be the most dangerous places in Lowell.
For the third time in a week, yet another pedestrian was hospitalized with serious injuries Monday afternoon when an 18-year-old Lowell man, Angel Pena, was struck by a Cadillac while crossing Merrimack Street about 2:30 p.m.
Pena’s mother, Madeline Pena, was at his side in the intensive care unit at Lahey Clinic in Burlington Monday evening, and she said her son has a head injury.
“We can only wait,” she told my fellow reporter John Collins.
The driver involved, Philip Laverriere, 84, is well-known in his hometown of Lawrence, where he has spent decades as the executive director and CEO of the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, basically Lawrence’s version of Lowell’s Community Teamwork Inc.
The council, a non-profit organization, works to help low-income residents throughout greater Lawrence.
Laverriere sounded pretty shaken up when I spoke to him by telephone tonight.
“I’ve been sick about it,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve ever been in an accident with a person involved. I feel terrible about it.”
Police Lt. Timothy Crowley tells me Laverriere had the green light, though, and is not facing any charges. The investigation is still ongoing.
Laverriere said he didn’t even see Pena before striking him, and hit his breaks right away when he felt the impact. He had just had the breaks on his car replaced about a month ago.
Laverriere said police impounded his car as part of the investigation.
UPDATE: A spokesman for Lahey says Pena is listed in critical condition tonight.

Stolen Police Cruiser

It sounds to me like someone is going have some questions to answer.
It wasn’t until this morning that we heard about an incident early Saturday morning in which a guy named Ricky Sin, 20, of Lowell, stole a police cruiser that had been left running in the street.
Officer Soben Buth had gone to a complaint about a loud part at 1990 Middlesex St., and left his cruiser running, which is pretty much standard proceedure, since the lights and stuff on a cruiser will kill the battery otherwise.
The key here is that almost all Lowell PD cruisers have a “failsafe” system to prevent them from being stolen in situations like these.
And that’s why police were curious how Sin managed to allegedly steal the cruiser, lead police on a a chase that reached speeds of 80 to 90 mph, and then crash into several parked cars on Wilder Street.
Well, Superintendent Lavallee tells me the stolen cruiser was inspected the following day, and police discovered the “failsafe” system had been tampered with, rendering it inoperable.
Lavallee said he doesn’t think Buth is responsible, and he doesn’t think Sin would have even known about the system, so an investigation is underway into just who tampered with the anti-theft system in the cruiser.
Lavallee wouldn’t say anything beyond that, and wouldn’t speculate on whether someone could be disciplined, but he certainly didn’t sound happy either.
He said the system is a very minimal inconvenience to officers.
“This was a very, very serious matter and it’s very disconcerting to me,” Lavallee told me this afternoon. “It will be looked into very thoroughly.”
He declined to say how the system works, because he doesn’t want anyone else tampering with the systems or figuring out how to override them.
Sin was arraigned on Monday, held on $1,000 cash bail, but he also had his probation revoked on a 2008 charge of receiving a stolen motor vehicle and carrying a dangerous weapon.
Lavallee said the cruiser was totaled, and the damage to the other cars on Wilder Street was very bad too. Fortunately, no one was hurt.