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BMW Driver Arrested After Kendall Crash

Gabor Csanyi -- The Tech
A high speed chase last Friday ended when a stolen BMW crashed into a median strip in front of the Whitehead Institute.

By Dan McGuire
Executive Editor

A short, high-speed chase ended abruptly Friday afternoon in a crash at the intersection of Main Street and Vassar Street. A Cambridge police officer and the suspect, Jose A. Montanez of Chelsea, were injured during the chase.

Montanez allegedly stole a BMW 325 from East Cambridge Friday morning, said Sgt. Patrick Nagle, the spokesman for the Cambridge Police Department. At approximately 1:50 p.m. a police officer spotted the car driving along Binney Street near Cambridge Center and set off in pursuit.

A police cruiser pulled out from 4th Street out onto Binney Street, apparently intending to either block or pursue the stolen car. The BMW hit the cruiser, spinning it 180 degrees and injuring its driver. Later reports indicated that he would recover.

After the collision, the BMW continued south, crossing Broadway Street and heading towards Kendall Square. The officer supervising the construction project at the corner of Main Street and Vassar Street, in response to radio calls from the Cambridge police, stepped into the street to stop the car.

BMW "was not slowing down"

As the BMW approached the construction site, the officer, who was not named, realized that the car was not going to slow down. According to Nagle, the BMW "tried to run the officer over."The officer felt that "his life and his safety" were in danger and acted to protect himself, Nagle said.

The officer discharged "more than one shot" into the oncoming BMW, Nagle said. Although none of the bullets hit the driver, they apparently forced the BMW to swerve to the left, either to evade the bullets or to escape east down Main Street.

In either case, the car missed the turn and ran into the median strip on Vassar Street. The car was totalled and the driver was injured.

According to witnesses, Montanez was able to make it out of the BMW under his own power. Witness reports of what happened after that varied. Some said that Montanez attempted to flee on foot and was subdued by police while others said that he just barely made it out of the car. In either case, Cambridge police called an ambulance, which at 2:10 p.m. left the scene with the suspect.

Montanez was arraigned in Cambridge District Court Monday morning. He is facing 15 charges, the most serious one being assault with a motor vehicle with intent to murder, a charge arising from his earlier collision with the police cruiser.

Montanez also faces two charges of assault with a dangerous weapon after his collision with the cruiser and the near-collision with the officer at the construction site. He is also being charged with receiving stolen property and possessing burglary tools, along with several traffic violations.

Montanez is being held without bail until a hearing on Thursday, said A. Brian Heffron, a spokesman for the Middlesex County District Attorney's office. "He's being held because he's a danger to himself and society at large," he said.

Early reports that there were drugs involved in the incident were later proved to be false.