MEDFORD (CBS) — A 28-year-old man driving the wrong way on a moped led police on a multi-city pursuit Thursday morning. It started in Danvers on Interstate 95 and came to an end in Medford just before 11 a.m.
State Police say that Danvers officers at around 9 a.m. tried to stop the moped driver, who reportedly had a a knife and threatened to harm himself. He was first seen near Centennial Drive in Peabody, but then later drove onto Interstate 95.
SkyEye was following as the red moped dangerously went against traffic on Interstate 93 and drove through intersections. Police eventually caught up with the driver on Mystic Avenue in Medford.
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Eliane Feirreira, who was in the black infiniti that got slightly hit when they caught up to the man, said she heard the commotion but decided to stay inside.
“I knew something was going on here, but I just gave space because I don’t know what’s going on or what kind of people are involved,” said Feirreira.
Witness Rob Salines praised the job police did in getting to the man safely.
“He was weaving and out of traffic. I can’t say enough about police trying to avoid letting him get hurt and they took him down safely,” Salines said. “They were using cars to impede his progress. They were able to grab him as the moped slowed down to maneuver in between the state troopers.”
The driver was apprehended and then taken to Mass General Hospital for evaluation. Massachusetts State Police said they were following at a distance as to not escalate the situation as the man was potentially suicidal and driving very erratically.
WBZ-TV Security Analyst Ed Davis said deescalation tactics are critical in these types of pursuits.
“I think people need to understand that this type of an incident is one of the most dangerous things a police officer can do, short of an armed encounter,” he said. “They’re always weighing the benefits and the detriments of continuing the pursuit.”
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).