Downtown Brawl

Just posting a quick link to a story about a large brawl downtown early this morning.
I’m not working on this but I’ve tried to give a lot of coverage to issues downtown, so I wanted to make sure this made the blog.
Also, I heard about this early this morning thanks to another tip from a reader. I can’t emphasize enough how helpful these kinds of tips are to all of us in the newsroom.
These tips not only helps us find out about stuff, they also helps us understand what kind of stuff our readers are interested in.
Anyone who spots something that they think is newsworthy can always catch me at rmills@lowellsun.com, or call me in the newsroom Saturday to Wednesday at 978-970-4674.
I’m an addict who always checks his email though. You can email me anytime.
Some incidents will be minor and maybe not something that I end up reporting on, but I’ll always try to at least get the tipster a couple of answers.
I owe another thank you to Laura, who’s friend Greg tipped me off to this. You two are both great.

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A Little Story I Heard Tonight

I’m sure anyone who’s been reading the blog today remembers the story of Jason Kasilowski, who was arrested for trying to steal the Jimmy Fund collection can from the main desk at Lowell PD.
I just heard a little story, though.
A few hours after Kasilowski’s arrest, a man walked into the main desk and identified himself as one of Kasilowski’s family members.
The man held up a pair of $20 bills, and said “this is his bail money.”

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The man then inserted both bills into the Jimmy Fund collection can, and told police they were welcome to let Kasilowski know where his bail money went.

Power Outage

According to National Grid’s power outage website there are currently 2,676 buildings without power in Dracut, 1,954 without power in Lowell and 267 without power in Tyngsboro.
UPDATE: I just spoke to a National Grid spokesman who tells me the outage is caused by a ‘technical problem’ at the substation on Hoover Street in Lowell.
Crews are at the site. They don’t have a specific cause yet, but they believe it can be fixed within 30 minutes to an hour.
UPDATE: National Grid just called back and said everyone should have power again.

Car Shears Pole and Closes Street

Princeton Street at in the area of Brouilette Street has been closed in Chelmsford this afternoon because a minivan veered off the road and sheared off a utility pole at it’s base, according to Chelmsford Police.

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Both photos are by the illustrious Tori Germann.
Police couldn’t identify the driver yet, but said a woman in her 40’s was alone about 1:45 p.m., when her minivan veered off the road and struck the pole.
The woman reportedly got out of the vehicle on her own before collapsing, and she was in and out of consciousness after that.
She was taken to Lowell General Hospital with what were believed to be non life-threatening injuries.

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Might want to avoid Princeton Street in that area. Traffic is being detoured around the scene while utility crews fix up the pole.

Rammed a Cruiser – Leapt Two Fences and a Train

I was so busy tonight I didn’t get to blog about the police chase through Lowell and Tewksbury until just now, so I’m just going to give you my story on it and some photos by our Photo Editor Jon Hill.

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By Robert Mills
rmills@lowellsun.com
LOWELL — The suspect rammed his Chevrolet Tahoe into a police cruiser, sped down street after street, and then drove into a dead end where he ran from his vehicle, leapt over a fence, between the cars of a stopped train, and then over another fence.
Despite an effort to elude police that stretched through two towns, dozens of streets, and reached speeds of up to 60 mph in densely populated neighborhoods, Richard Blanchette, 42, of 110 Ludlam St., Lowell, was finally arrested on Boyleston Street in Lowell yesterday about 3 p.m.
Tewksbury Police Chief Timothy Sheehan said the chase began with little more than the sharp eyes of Detective Lt. Ryan Columbus yesterday afternoon.
Columbus was returning from a bank robbery at Stadium Plaza when he saw the Tahoe, with Maine license plates, turning into the parking lot of Home Depot on Main Street near Interstate 495.
Parking lots in that area have been a frequent site of drug transactions in recent years. Tewksbury Police have boosted patrols there as a result, and Columbus got suspicious and followed the Tahoe into the parking lot.
He watched as the driver went into the store and came back out, and then continued following the Tahoe out of the parking lot, watching as the driver threw a large amount of trash out his window, Sheehan said.
When Columbus activated the lights on his cruiser to make a traffic stop, the Tahoe appeared to be pulling over, but then accelerated rapidly and sped away, Sheehan said.
The chase that resulted soon moved into Lowell, moving at high speeds down streets like Fort Hill Avenue and Boyleston Street, according to police reports.
On Woburn Street, the Tahoe pulled into the parking lot of an Exxon Gas Station near Interstate 495 and turned around. The driver then accelerated rapidly and rammed head-on into a Tewksbury police cruiser driven by Sgt. Tim Kelly, according to police reports.
Neither Kelly nor his canine partner were seriously injured.
From there the chase sped down side streets and onto Lawrence Street before the Tahoe turned onto a dead end near Roper Street.
Police say Blanchette ran from the vehicle, leapt over a fence, climbed between cars of a stopped train, and jumped another fence before heading into a wooded area near the J.G. Pyne Arts Magnet School on Boyleston Street.
Police quickly setup a perimeter, and arrested Blanchette as he tried to cross Boyleston Street to escape.
Police soon discovered that he had been driving with a revoked license.
Blanchette was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (motor vehicle), for ramming the police cruiser, failure to stop for police, operating to endanger, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, speeding, and operating after revocation.
An officer at the scene of the arrest was overheard saying “you tried to kill a police officer you won’t get bail.”
Last night Blanchette was released on bail.
He will be arraigned today in Lowell District Court.
Photo Editor Jon Hill contributed to this report.

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Syringe Robber Arrested

Billerica Police just emailed me to report that they have arrested and filed charges against a 20-year-old Peabody man in connection with the armed robbery that I posted picures and video of over the last couple days.
Troy Beers, 20, of 766 Lowell St., Peabody was arrested just a short time ago and charged with armed robbery.

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No word yet whether Tewksbury Police will be charging him with the Monday afternoon robbery in their town at Pete’s Variety, 420 Woburn St.
I’m also hearing that a robbery in Wilmington on Monday night might also be connected, but I’ve been unable to confirm that.
Stay tuned for more on this tomorrow. Mr. Beers will be arraigned in Lowell District Court.