Northampton man arraigned in bus stop crash that seriously injured man

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Staff Writer
Published: 10/20/2020 1:49:23 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A city man answered in court on Friday to accusations that he led police on a car chase in June after he crashed into a downtown bus stop and seriously injured a person who was sleeping inside.

Christopher H. Durham, 26, of Northampton, pleaded not guilty in Northampton District Court to charges including leaving the scene of personal injury and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Judge Jacklyn Connly ordered held on $5,000 bail.

Northampton Police Officer Heather Longley wrote in a police report filed in court documents that she had been on patrol around 1 a.m. on June 20 when she observed a blue sedan do a “donut” in the middle of the intersection at Main and King streets. Longley wrote that the driver and front-seat passenger were cheering and had their fists out of the window.

During one of the “donuts,” Longley wrote that the driver began accelerating westbound down Main Street, appeared to have lost control of the car, overcorrected, went onto the sidewalk and crashed into the bus stop at 99 Main St., damaging it. Longley wrote that she knew of a person who slept at the bus stop every day and as she approached the crash scene, she observed that the person was there and conscious and sitting up.

The car in question quickly backed out of the crash area and began driving south down Pleasant Street, wrote Longley, who notified police dispatch. She reported that the car traveled down Pleasant Street at approximately 65 mph in a posted 25 mph zone while being tailed by her and another officer. The car turned onto I-91 South, and once it passed the Oxbow, Longley said, it sped up out of sight and police stopped their pursuit.

The victim was transported to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. The person’s immediately known injuries were a pelvic fracture, a right lower tibia fracture and a femur fracture, according to Longley’s report. The victim also had severe lacerations to their right leg around the knee where bone was visible, as well as smaller but significant lacerations on their left leg. The victim had told first responders that he woke up to being hit by a car, according to court documents.

Police later learned the car in question was reported as stolen out of West Boylston. Another police report written by Detective Honora Sullivan-Chin reports that the involved car ultimately crashed in West Springfield around 9:15 a.m. following two more police chases. Durham was placed under arrest by the Massachusetts State Police. Sullivan-Chin wrote that she was shown photos taken from surveillance footage by a West Boylston police officer that allegedly shows Durham entering the involved car at a Cumberland Farms, which had been left running with the keys in the ignition.

Durham was charged with leaving the scene of personal injury, leaving the scene of property damage, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, use of a motor vehicle without authority, failure to stop for police and operation of a motor vehicle with a suspended license. He is due back in court on Nov. 13. Durham’s lawyer, Northampton attorney Daniel Carey, declined to comment.

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com.


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