Suspect arraigned in police cruiser crash in Sunderland

The Franklin County Justice Center in Greenfield.

The Franklin County Justice Center in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By MAX BOWEN

Athol Daily News Editor

Published: 02-26-2024 1:04 PM

GREENFIELD — A Ware man was arraigned on a dozen charges after the vehicle he was driving in allegedly struck both a Deerfield and Massachusetts State Police cruiser in Sunderland on Feb. 18.

Latif Owens, 27, has been charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of personal injury, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, improper operation of a motor vehicle, marked lanes violation, failure to wear a seat belt, failure to stop for police, possession of an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, operating under the influence of drugs, operating under the influence of liquor, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and resisting arrest. Owens is scheduled to return to Franklin County District Court on March 20 for a pre-trial conference, according to the court clerk’s office.

According to police reports, a trooper from the Northampton State Police barracks was asked to respond after dispatchers received a call regarding a single vehicle crash on Amherst Road in Sunderland at 2:45 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18.

The trooper wrote that shortly after arriving, the vehicle, allegedly driven by Owens, began to drive away, despite verbal commands from officers to stop. The vehicle struck the state police cruiser, and then collided with a Deerfield Police cruiser.

The force of the impact to the Deerfield police cruiser “caused the vehicle passenger’s side front and rear tires to lift off the ground approximately 5 feet,” the trooper wrote.

The vehicle then attempted to drive away, but an officer broke one of the windows to gain entry, though Owens allegedly resisted attempts to stop him. Owens was removed from the vehicle, where he again allegedly resisted the officers’ attempts to place him under arrest. The responding trooper sustained minor hand abrasions.

According to a police report, Owens was evaluated by EMS on the scene. Officers found four empty nip bottles and one bottle that was three quarters full inside the vehicle. Police said they found rolling papers and a blunt tube that are consistent with smoking marijuana inside the vehicle. Owens reportedly told officers that he had smoked two blunts before driving his vehicle. Owens denied a breathalyzer test at the scene.

Max Bowen can be reached at 413-930-4074 or at mbowen@recorder.com.

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