Student Arrested After ChaseBy Brian Loux
ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR
New York State Police arrested MIT student Tiffany L. Bostick ’02 after a 30 minute car chase early Saturday morning. The chase began after she allegedly skipped a toll booth, reported The Record of Bergen County, New Jersey, and continued into Rutherford, New Jersey at a dead end on Rutherford Avenue.
The Record also reported that the officers said Bostick was driving erratically and once during the chase tried to swerve into one of the police cars. According to The Record, after the arrest Bostick told the police that she didn’t stop her car because she had been concerned about being alone late at night in a secluded area surrounded by officers.
As of 11 p.m. yesterday, Bostick was being held in Bergen County Jail, where she has been charged with reckless endangerment. She is described as “a fugitive from the justice from the State of New York” by a Bergen County Police Officer who declined to give his name. She is awaiting a court hearing for extradition from the New Jersey jail to New York, and will probably be in jail “for a couple of days,” he said.
Bostick is not currently allowed to receive incoming phone calls.
Other students afraid of police
MIT students familiar with New York and New Jersey police officers can relate to the reason that Bostick stated for not stopping. “Mostly New York/ New Jersey Cops are just annoying, but some fear them,” said Andrea L. Fanucci ’04, a native to the area. “My mom felt the same way as [Bostick] did when she once was pulled over in my town around 1 a.m. It actually turned out that cop was later convicted for sexually abusing minors, and landed 30 years in prison.”
Those who know Bostick were surprised to hear the news. Sarah A. Farrar ’02, a member of the Undergraduate Association Finance Board, on which Bostick serves, said that she was heavily involved in several student groups. “When we go through allocations and appeals at Finboard, she is aware about what is going on with almost all of the groups,” Farrar said. “She is a very active person. At Finboard she [is] very nice and responsible.” Fellow Finboard member Amy Shi ’04 agreed with Farrar.
Police give safety tips
While personal safety is important on the road, Police Officer Clifford Connolly of the Boston Police said, there should be no need to drive away. If approached by an unmarked car with a blue light and you are suspicious, stop and open the window just enough so that the officer can talk to you, he said. You can ask to see his badge if he has not shown it to you and his picture ID if you are still not sure that he is an officer.
Still, the situation may be unnerving and intimidating depending on the time of day and area. If the situation is not comfortable, Connolly says that you can ask the officer to escort you to a local police station or to a marked car. If the officer refuses to do this, he added that you can drive yourself to the police station and explain the problem yourself.
“We are not advocating driving away,” he said, “just making sure that the person is a true officer.”
Indeed, there have been incidents in the past where criminals have impersonated police officers in unmarked cars on state highways.
Connolly advises one to call 911 if one feels that the person is not a real trooper. Police have the technology nowadays to immediately check where police units are, and they can verify the person who pulled you over as valid or not.
Connolly added that a marked car with a full uniform and badge should be enough of a clear statement that it is an officer of the law. “You can still ask to see the officer’s ID when he or she approaches your car. If you decide to drive away,” he said, “you better have a very good reason as to why.”