PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A driver is facing several charges, including felony assault, after he allegedly drove into a barricaded area during Al Fresco on the Hill.
On Saturdays during the summer, a section of Atwells Avenue is closed to traffic for the outdoor dining event.
A spokesperson from the Federal Hill Commerce Association told 12 News the man got out of his SUV last Saturday evening and moved one of the orange barriers so he could drive through.
Police at the scene quickly stopped the driver, identified as Matthew Figueroa, but the situation escalated from there.
According to the incident report obtained by 12 News, police asked Figueroa to get out of the vehicle after he refused to provide his license and registration. The report says Figueroa seemed “extremely nervous as he was trembling and shaking with his chest rapidly rising.”
When an officer tried to open the driver’s side door, police said Figueroa backed up, then drove toward him and another officer. Both were able to get out of the way, according to police, then they notified other officers in the area and told people to get out of the street.
The police report says one woman had to pull a toddler from the middle of the roadway to avoid the oncoming SUV.
“They were all yelling, chasing him,” witness Chris Testa recalled. “He takes a quick left and runs through the barricade, down a one-way street — the wrong way.”
Police chased after Figueroa until he pulled into a driveway on Tobey Street, where he was arrested.
No one was injured during the incident.
In addition to two counts of felony assault, Figueroa is charged with eluding law enforcement and obstructing an officer, court records show. He was also issued a citation for motor vehicle infractions.
The Federal Hill Commerce Association called the situation unique. They’ve since reviewed their procedures and will be adding extra precautions next weekend, including vehicles to help block off side streets.