Tyngsboro Man Who Dragged Chelmsford Officer Pleads Guilty
LOWELL -- A 29-year-old Tyngsboro man who was shot in the head and abdomen as he used a stolen car to drag a police officer through the parking lot of a Chelmsford ice cream stand in 2016 was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to a variety of charges Wednesday.
Lowell Superior Court Judge Robert Ullmann sentenced Michael Clark to five years in prison followed by three years of probation, according to court records.
It was on the evening of July 16, 2016, that Tyngsboro police Officer Dennis Leach was on Route 3 and attempted to stop a Buick LeSabre that had been stolen earlier in the day from Lowell General Hospital.
The vehicle’s driver, Clark, refused to stop, and fled from Leach at speeds of up to 100 mph, according to police reports.
Leach pursued at safer speeds as Clark drove off the highway and into Chelmsford, with Chelmsford police Sgt. Stephen Fredericks joining the pursuit in Chelmsford.
Clark eventually stopped in the parking lot of Sully’s Ice Cream Stand on Graniteville Road.
Leach, Fredericks and another officer tried to box in the Buick in the parking lot, but Clark accelerated, rammed one cruiser with the Buick, and then put the car in reverse as Fredericks attempted to pull him from the driver’s seat, an investigation by the Middlesex District Attorneys Office determined.
Fredericks was caught on the Buick’s door and dragged through the parking lot as the Buick sideswiped another police cruiser.
Fredericks told investigators he remembers being dragged toward the cruiser and getting pinched between the cars as he thought “this is it,” according to a report on the incident issued by the DA’s office.
Leach saw Fredericks disappear between the cars, and fired two gunshots at Clark -- striking Clark in the head and abdomen -- because he believed Fredericks was being run over, according to the DA’s report.
Leach told investigators he didn’t know if Fredericks was injured or killed until he spotted him on the ground after the second gunshot was fired. The DA’s office determined Leach was justified in his use of force.
Fredericks immediately called for paramedics to treat Clark, and told Chelmsford dispatchers in radio broadcasts “don’t worry about me now.”
Clark was flown to Boston Medical Center by a medical helicopter, and was arraigned there in his hospital bed shortly after the incident.
On Wednesday, Clark pleaded guilty to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, larceny of a motor vehicle, operating to endanger, assault and battery on a police officer, receiving stolen property over $250, and larceny under $250 in connection with the incident.
Police say that when Clark stole the Buick from Lowell General Hospital, he also stole the car owner’s credit cards and used them to make fraudulent purchases in Nashua before the pursuit began.
Ullmann ordered that while Clark is on probation, he must undergo mental-health and substance abuse evaluations and complete any follow up treatment, consume no drugs or alcohol, and submit to random screens, according to court records. Clark must also pay $700 in restitution, Ullmann ordered.
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