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Woman who struck Amherst police cruiser prohibited from driving

Union Leader Correspondent

April 01. 2013 10:24PM

AMHERST - A Massachusetts woman who police say smashed her vehicle into a local police cruiser and caused the operating policeman to receive medical attention is now prohibited from driving.

Judge Martha Crocker of the 9th Circuit Court, Milford District Division, has ordered that Cheryl Nelson, 44, of Tyngsborough, Mass., not be permitted to operate any vehicle after Friday's incident in Milford and Amherst. Nelson is facing numerous charges after allegedly causing three accidents in a 15-minute time span Friday, according to police, who said she ended the incident after striking an Amherst Police Department cruiser with her car.

"There was a pretty decent amount of damage," said Amherst Police Chief Mark Reams. "It is one of our older cruisers, and my guess is that it might be totalled."

Reams said the driver of the cruiser, Sgt. Patrick Webster, was treated and released from a local hospital with undisclosed injuries.

According to court documents, Nelson was under the influence of drugs when her 2005 Ford Explorer first hit a 2006 Ford Escape occupied by Celina and James Antonellis Friday near 505 Route 13 South in Milford. Police say Nelson crossed the yellow double line and caused the Ford Escape to lose control and roll over.

Police said Nelson failed to stop at the accident scene and continued driving the wrong way around the Milford Oval when she then struck a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 owned by Mark Keenan, again leaving the scene of the accident without stopping, according to court records.

While two police cruisers began a brief pursuit of Nelson's vehicle, she ignored the flashing emergency lights, turned her car around and struck the front end of Webster's patrol vehicle near 98 Spring St., according to Reams.

She is facing several charges for the incident, including three counts of reckless conduct, two counts of conduct after an accident, and one count each of reckless operation, criminal mischief, driving under the influence, simple assault and disobeying an officer.

In addition to the driving offenses, police allege that Nelson pushed a woman at the Amherst Police Department while trying to escape a booking cell and also wiped her urine-soiled clothing on the walls of the same booking cell, according to court documents.

During her arraignment Monday, a judge kept Nelson's bail set at $25,000 cash and also ordered that if she is released, she is prohibited from driving a motor vehicle.

Reams said Webster took two days off from work while he recovered and is expected to return to duty Tuesday.

New Hampshire State Police are investigating the accident involving the police cruiser, the chief said.

Crime, law and justice Amherst Milford

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