NORTHAMPTON (CBS) — A man was rescued from his burning car by Massachusetts State Police troopers after they say he led them on a high-speed chase on Route 91 that also left a construction contractor injured and a cruiser heavily damaged.
State Police said that driver, Darryl Whitaker, 54, was seriously injured when he crashed his car into a construction zone early Wednesday morning. He is under guard at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.
The chase began around 2:40 a.m. when troopers say they spotted a Ford Mustang driven by Whitaker, who they say was wanted by Springfield Police. When the tried to pull him over, they say he sped away down Route 91 Northbound in West Springfield.
During that chase, troopers used a Stinger tire deflation device, which damaged the car’s tires near where Route 91 crosses the Connecticut River Oxbow–but State Police say Whitaker kept driving on those damaged tires as he neared a construction project.
Troopers cleared workers from that construction zone, and the Mustang crashed into a construction sign and one of the contractors’ trucks, bursting into flames.
One of the contractors working at the site, a 41-year-old Gill man, was in or near that truck and suffered what State Police believe are minor injuries. He was taken to Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton.
The sign the car hit flew into the air and landed on a pursuing trooper’s cruiser, causing significant damage–but the trooper inside was not hurt.
State Police said Whitaker was trapped inside the burning car, but troopers pulled him out and rushed him to the hospital.
They said he will face several motor vehicle charges related to the chase, as well as additional charges related to outstanding warrants.
Route 91 was closed at Exit 18 for cleanup, and reopened before 6 a.m.