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Plaistow police: Stolen minivan part of fatal Mass. crash
PLAISTOW — A man fleeing police in a stolen minivan who was also suspected of stealing beer and cigarettes from a Plaistow convenience store died Monday after striking another car, a pedestrian and then a tree in Haverhill, Mass.
The accident happened about two hours after a clerk at Mini Express at 98 Main St. called police just after 9 a.m. and reported that a man stole a 12-pack of beer and two packs of cigarettes, Plaistow Deputy Police Chief Kathleen Jones said.
The clerk described the vehicle involved in the theft as a silver Honda Odyssey, Jones said.
The minivan, seen traveling south on Main Street in the direction of Haverhill, was reported stolen in Windham, Jones said.
A Plaistow police dispatcher notified Haverhill police about the van at about 9:15 a.m.
An hour later, Haverhill police said they were called to a local variety store to investigate a theft involving a man and vehicle matching the description of the one reported in the Plaistow incident. The man was also suspected of leaving a Haverhill restaurant without paying his bill Sunday night, police said.
An on-duty Haverhill officer spotted the stolen van around 11 a.m. and began to follow the vehicle, police said.
The vehicle sped north on Route 125 in Haverhill. The officer pursued the minivan from a distance and eventually lost sight of it, police said.
A short time later, another Haverhill officer who was working at a road construction detail saw the van turn north from Main Street onto North Avenue at a high rate of speed, police said.
The officer “heard a loud collision” and discovered that the van had rear-ended another vehicle, struck a pedestrian walking his dog and then hit a large tree, police said.
The driver of the stolen van was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The pedestrian and the occupant in the other vehicle suffered unknown injuries.
Haverhill police had not yet released the names of the victims or the man who died.
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