Attleboro, MA - Man Hallucinating Assaulted Officer - Jumps In Patrol Car Fighting The Officer - Drags Officer And Crashes Into Pole - Officer Injured - Very Dangerous Encounter

July 2, 2017

thesunchronicle.com

A police officer is home recovering from injuries suffered in a violent struggle with a suspect, who will face a judge Monday on assault and related charges.

In new details released Sunday, Police Chief Kyle Heagney described a potentially lethal struggle between Patrolman Joseph Daday and the suspect, 19-year-old Cristofer Veloz of Attleboro.

“This incident was an extremely dangerous encounter for Officer Daday. If not for his protective instincts and defensive tactics, he may have been killed,” Heagney said.

During the encounter around 3:50 a.m. Saturday, Veloz, of 31 John St., allegedly commandeered Daday’s police cruiser and drove it into a utility pole as both men fought in the driver’s seat, Heagney said.

Daday, whose legs were dangling out of the open driver’s door of the out-of-control cruiser, suffered a broken ankle and severe cuts when one of his legs was wedged between the door jam and a tree, Heagney said.

Daday, a 15-year veteran, was released after being admitted to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence and will be out for at least a couple of months, Heagney said.

Daday was the first officer on the scene around 3:45 a.m. Saturday at County and Read streets where police received reports of a man trying to enter passing motor vehicles, Heagney said.

Daday got out of his cruiser and began giving Veloz commands but did not approach him until other officers arrived because the suspect appeared to be acting strangely, according to the police chief.

“Veloz was acting irrational and was experiencing an hallucination episode,” Heagney said, adding that Veloz appeared to be under the influence of some type of narcotic.

Veloz “suddenly and without warning” rushed at Daday, pushing him and entering the cruiser as Daday attempted to stop him, according to the police chief.

With both men now inside the police cruiser, Veloz allegedly punched Daday as both were in the driver’s seat, Heagney said.

During the struggle, Heagney said, Veloz was allegedly able to put the cruiser’s gear shift in the drive position and “gunned” the cruiser with Daday’s legs hanging out of the driver’s door.

“Veloz stepped on the gas and the cruiser sped down the street with Daday hanging on for his life,” Heagney said.

The cruiser struck a utility pole, Heagney said, pinning one of Daday’s legs between the door jam and a tree.

Once backup officers arrived, they removed Veloz from on top of Daday as Veloz allegedly fought with them, Heagney said.

“This incident was an extremely dangerous encounter for Officer Daday. If not for his protective instincts and defensive tactics, he may have been killed,” Heagney said.

Firefighters had to cut away trees in order to free Daday before taking him to the hospital, according to the police chief.

Veloz was taken to Sturdy Memorial Hospital for evaluation.

He was subsequently booked at the police station on several charges, including assault and battery on a police officer, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, carjacking, and operating under the influence of drugs.

Heagney said police do not yet know why Veloz was in that area or what he was doing before he allegedly tried to enter passing cars.

Veloz was ordered held on bail and will face a judge Monday in Attleboro District Court.