High-speed car chase ends with man arrested for kidnapping


Staff Writer
Published: 5/14/2020 1:50:43 PM
Modified: 5/14/2020 1:50:33 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A Turners Falls man answered to a kidnapping charge in court Wednesday after he allegedly was the driver in a high-speed state police car chase on I-91 last week that ended with Easthampton police using spike strips to stop his car.

Nolan Courtemanche, 21, pleaded not guilty in Northampton District Court to charges of kidnapping, operating under the influence of drugs, failure to stop for police, and other motor vehicle offenses, according to information from state police spokesman David Procopio and the Northwestern district attorney’s office.

He appeared in front of Judge Philip A. Contant via a telephone conference and was released on personal recognizance with the condition to call into probation once a week. Courtemanche was represented by Cory Mescon of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, the district attorney’s office said.

Massachusetts State Police in Northampton had broadcast an alert for an orange car traveling at a high rate of speed on I-91 South at around 4:35 p.m. last Thursday, Procopio said. ​​A few minutes later, a trooper noticed a Toyota Corolla matching the car’s description on the highway as it entered Easthampton. The trooper tried to stop the car but its driver, later identified as Courtemanche, reportedly refused and a pursuit ensued, Procopio said.

Courtemanche allegedly continued to flee, at one point allegedly reaching a speed of 109 mph, according to Procopio. The car eventually exited the highway at Exit 17, entered Route 141 and allegedly ran a red light as it headed north. State police stopped their chase but continued to follow the direction of the car at normal speeds, Procopio said.

Meanwhile, Easthampton police began mobilizing to intercept Courtemanche, according to an Easthampton Police Department report. One officer waited to deploy spike strips at the corner of Hendrick Street and Holyoke Street while another deployed their spike strips on Holyoke Street near East Street.

The car traveled past The Log Cabin, and encountered stopped traffic as it turned the road’s final corner toward Holyoke Street, the report said. The car allegedly crossed over the double yellow lines, passed the line of traffic and hit spike strips near the bottom of the mountain along Rt. 141, according to the police report. 

Its left tire already flat, the car accelerated down Holyoke Street. With his gun drawn, an officer ordered Courtemanche to stop and eventually the car came to a rest before hitting a second set of spike strips, according to the police report.

As the same officer approached the car, Courtemanche allegedly turned away and faced the passenger, the report reads. Not knowing if Courtemanche was armed, the officer tried to open the locked car door before trying to shatter its window. When the officer hit the window, Courtemanche turned towards the officer, put his hands up and opened his door, according to the police report. Courtemanche was escorted out of the vehicle and arrested.

State police took custody of Courtemanche, his vehicle was impounded, and a female passenger was transported to the Easthampton Police Station to wait for a ride. Courtemanche was charged with kidnapping as there is allegedly evidence that he refused to let his passenger out of the car when she asked to leave, according to Procopio. Courtemanche is due back in court on July 15.

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


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