2 Meriden Police Cruisers Struck by Man Accused of Being Under the Influence

meriden police cruisers

Two Meriden police cruisers were struck by a vehicle being driven by a man accused of being under the influence on Sunday night.

Police said a sergeant was working a traffic detail on North Colony Road around 10:30 p.m. with a crew who was on-scene repairing a phone pole that had been struck and damaged in a crash earlier in the night.

While the sergeant was in his cruiser at the scene, authorities said his vehicle was struck by another driver in a Dodge caravan. After hitting the cruiser, police said the driver in the Dodge caravan, later identified as 62-year-old Thomas Popham, of New Britain, fled the scene.

The collision damaged the left side of the sergeant's cruiser, making it inoperable and the sergeant was injured in the accident, according to officers.

After Popham fled, the sergeant called in his last direction of travel. A work truck that was being driven by a member of the crew working on the phone pole also took off to follow the Popham, police said.

Shortly after, officers said they found the Dodge caravan on Hicks Avenue and the work crew who had followed Popham was still behind the vehicle.

Officers attempted to approach the Popham's van, but he began to drive away. While driving at a low speed, authorities said Popham made a u-turn and began driving at an officer. The officer was able to step out of the way, but gave numerous verbal commands to stop.

Popham then attempted to go up and around the officer by hopping the curb and going up into the grassy area, police said. The officer then opened the driver's side door of the van and Popham was taken into custody.

While taking Popham into custody, authorities said his vehicle struck the foot of the arresting officer, but did not cause injuries. After being removed from the vehicle, Popham's vehicle also continued to roll and ended up hitting another cruiser before coming to rest.

Police said Popham was slurring his words and was suspected to be under the influence of an intoxicant. He was taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries sustained during the crash into the sergeant's cruiser on North Colony Road, they added.

Popham is facing several charges including operating under the influence, assault with a motor vehicle, assault of a police officer, reckless driving, evading responsibility and reckless endangerment. He was held on a $100,000 bond and is due in court in July.

Both of the officers that were involved in the incident are back to work and didn't miss any time due to injuries, according to police.

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