SALEM — Two Massachusetts men are facing charges for allegedly speeding away from a Salem police officer on Sunday night then crashing their car into another vehicle at an intersection in Windham, police said.
The driver, Ronnie Ortega, 21, and his passenger, Marquez Canery, 20, both of Lawrence, Mass., are being held at the Rockingham County jail on a variety of charges related to their alleged flight from police that began just after 10:12 p.m.
Police Officer Mike Bolduc noticed a gray 2003 Audi in the parking lot of Walmart on Route 28 with a vanity license plate that expired in 2010, according to police.
Bolduc ran a registration check on the plate, which came back to a silver Nissan Maxima, police said.
Police stopped the vehicle in the northbound lane of Route 28 just as it pulled out of the store parking lot.
Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten said Ortega and Canery were acting suspicious because they kept looking back for the officer on the driver's side of the car. Bolduc approached on the passenger side door and spotted a bottle of liquor a quarter full on the passenger's side floor of the car, police said.
Canery opened the door and pushed it into Bolduc before the car sped off northbound on Route 28, according to Patten.
Bolduc got in his cruiser and followed the men as they headed down Range Road into Windham.
Windham and state police were told to be on the lookout for the car. The Audi crashed into another vehicle that was stopped at the intersection of Range Road and Route 111 in Windham, police said.
Nobody was injured from the crash, according to Patten.
The Audi, driven by Ortega, continued on the road until it broke down at the northbound on-ramp to Interstate 93. Police said the car broke down due to damage from the crash moments earlier.
Canery allegedly struggled with police before he and Ortega were taken into custody. Both men were booked at the police station and brought to the county jail after refusing bail. Windham police also issued a summons to Ortega, charging him with conduct after an accident.
Ortega is charged in Salem with reckless operation, disobeying a police officer, possession of an open container, driving an unregistered motor vehicle and misuse of plates. Canery is charged with simple assault, resisting arrest and unlawful possession of an alcoholic beverage.