SOMERSET, Mass. (WPRI) ─ Two Fall River men were arrested over the weekend after they took off from a traffic stop, crashed their vehicle and ran from the scene, Somerset Police Chief George McNeil said Monday.
Officers were called to Somerset Creamery on County Street Sunday afternoon after receiving a report that the two men were parked in the lot and acting suspiciously.
Somerset Creamery owner Matt Berube tells Eyewitness News that it was one of his employees who notified police.
“They came into the store without a mask, without a shirt, and it kind of just set off alarm bells for that kid and I’m glad he did call police,” Berube said.
McNeil said the officers spoke with the men, later identified as Kevin Ploude, 33, and Scott Hazel, 36, and sent them on their way after questioning them about the car’s rear license plate, which was in the back seat.
After Ploude pulled out of the parking lot, the officers ran a check on his vehicle and learned he was driving with a suspended license, according to McNeil.
When the officers pulled Ploude over on the on-ramp to the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge, the chief said they noticed he was holding a handgun.
Ploude then sped off down Davol Street before the officers reached the vehicle, McNeil said, and he led them on a brief pursuit through the city.
Officers gave chase, but called it off a short time later after Ploude reached speeds of more than 80 mph and drove through a red light at the intersection of President Avenue and Davol Street.
McNeil said as the officers continued driving down Davol Street, they noticed a group of people calling for help near the Cove Restaurant and Marina.
The officers learned Ploude had lost control of his vehicle, which rolled over in the middle of the roadway.
When the officers went to investigate, both men had already taken off on foot, though video later obtained by police revealed Ploude returned to the car to grab his handgun before running off again.
Paul Bulens tells Eyewitness News he was in the passenger seat of his friend’s car when he saw the high-speed chase and began filming. His video shows the car crash through the median and flip over into the road right in front of them. Soon after the crash, the two men got out of the car and took off running.
“He was speeding, we knew he was being reckless,” Bulens recalled. We didn’t know what was going to happen, but we knew it wasn’t going to be good.”
McNeil said officers found several items inside the vehicle that appeared to have been stolen from nearby businesses.
Hazel was found a short time later walking down Route 79 and taken into custody, according to McNeil. He was transported to an area hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries suffered in the crash.
Hazel was charged with receiving stolen property and summonsed to appear in court at a later date.
As for Ploude, police learned from an eyewitness that he had jumped off the boardwalk and into the Taunton River to escape.
McNeil said the officers tracked Ploude to a tunnel underneath the boardwalk and into a sewer pipe opening. Police brought in a K9 to search the area, as well as the Fall River Harbor Master and a boat from the city’s fire department, but they couldn’t find Ploude.
Later that evening, McNeil said someone on the boardwalk told a nearby officer they saw someone matching Ploude’s description nearby and said he appeared to be “very wet.”
Officers located Ploude a short time later. McNeil said he tried to run off again but was captured following a brief chase. He was treated at an area hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and released into police custody.
Ploude is charged with assault by firearm, failure to stop for police, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.