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Police: City Officer Punched by Suspect After High-speed Chase

August 11, 2018

By Amanda Burke

aburke@sentinel andenterprise.com

LEOMINSTER -- A police officer is being treated for injuries suffered when he was punched in the face by a 21-year-old Webster man who was attempting to elude authorities Friday morning, said interim Police Chief Michael Goldman.

Joshua Zachara was charged with 11 different violations and crimes in connection with the incident, which ended around 9 a.m. with a shirtless Zachara being shackled and wheeled away on a stretcher near the parking lot of Home Depot.

State police attempted to pull Zachara over on Route 190 North in Sterling for a motor vehicle infraction at about 8:14 a.m., said State Police Trooper Dustin Fitchburg.

State police pursued Zachara until he reached Leominster, where they cut off the car chase, said Goldman. Zachara had two warrants out for his arrest.

Just over 20 minutes after the chase began, city police received calls that a “suspicious” man was knocking doors on 6th Street asking residents to borrow a cell phone, he said.

Two officers responded to 6th Street and saw the vehicle that matched descriptions of the one involved in the car chase, said Goldman.

Zachara fled the scene in a silver Buick sedan, and collided with two police cruisers as he drove away. Neither officer was injured when their cruisers were struck, he said..

Zachara fled down Spruce Street and crashed into large concrete blocks that lined a home’s driveway where the road bends sharply onto 12th Street.

He then fled on foot and the two responding officers chased him, said Goldman. Officers took Zachara into custody in the area behind Home Depot.

Zachara resisted arrest “violently,” said Goldman. Officers then resorted to using an electronic stun gun to subdue him.

“One officer was punched in the face,” said Goldman. “At some point he was tasered, but continued to fight.”

The arresting officer who was punched was being treated for exposure to Zachara’s blood at UMass HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital in Leominster just before 11 a.m., according to Goldman.

Zachara was treated and released from Leominster hospital and was being booked at Leominster Police Department headquarters, he said.

Zachara was arraigned in Leominster District Court Friday on 11 charges, including resisting arrest, two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and assault with a dangerous weapon, according to the clerk’s office.

The other charges are failing to stop, speeding, two counts of damage to a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, and operating with a suspended license, the clerk’s office said.

A judge set a $5,000 cash bail for Zachara. He is being held without bail on charges from Dudley District Court.

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