SALEM — A Chester woman accused of leading police on a slow-speed pursuit in a stolen car while under the influence of prescription pills is believed to have passed out before she crashed into a utility pole in Derry, police said.
Cindy Case, 54, is facing several charges related to the slow-speed pursuit Monday night, which is the second time this year that she’s led police on a chase.
Case was expected to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Rockingham County Superior Court, but the arraignment was rescheduled for Wednesday because she refused to come out of her cell at the county jail.
She is charged with felony reckless conduct with a deadly weapon, driving under the influence, receiving stolen property and disobeying an officer, all misdemeanors, and reckless operation and driving after revocation or suspension, both violation-level offenses.
In March, Case was arrested after a chase in Massachusetts and also charged in New Hampshire with felony reckless conduct with a deadly weapon after allegedly reversing her vehicle out of a parking space in Seabrook and into a cruiser while an officer was attempting to remove her from her vehicle.
According to court documents, Case has indicated plans to plead guilty in the Seabrook case at a hearing on Feb. 7.
Case’s latest encounter with police began at about 10:30 p.m. on Monday while Salem officer Andrew Feole was monitoring traffic on South Broadway (Route 28).
In an affidavit, Feole said that when he saw the gray 2004 Pontiac Grand Am pass by, he conducted a random registration query and learned that the car was reported stolen, allegedly by Case, on Nov. 15 in Salisbury, Mass.
Feole and other officers activated their blue emergency lights and their sirens as they attempted to stop the car, which was traveling north on South Broadway.
“The driver failed to stop despite at least six fully marked cruisers being behind her with lights and sirens activated,” Feole wrote.
Police say Case crossed over the double yellow lines into southbound lanes multiple times and at one point drove on the opposite side of a barrier through a construction zone near Central Street.
When officer Jeffrey Czarnec tried to get a look at her face by driving to the left of her car, police said she swerved and almost hit the cruiser.
The pursuit continued on at speeds of 30 to 45 mph with Case braking erratically for no apparent reason, police said.
According to police logs, Windham police set up a staging area at the intersection of Route 28 and Route 111. Derry police were also notified and attempted to cut her off, and state police were called in to assist.
The two Salem patrol cars and a supervisor followed Case through Windham and into Derry, according to Salem Deputy Police Chief Joel Dolan. She eventually slowed to 20 mph and drifted head-on into a pole at the corner of Route 28 and Lawrence Road, near the entrance to Rockingham Acres Garden Center. Police said the pole and car appear to have suffered minimal damage.
Case, whose driver’s license was suspended on Oct. 6 for failure to pay a court fine, appeared unconscious and was removed from the vehicle by officers before Derry Fire medical personnel arrived, police said.
“Initial reports indicate she was probably unconscious from prescription pills before the collision,” Dolan said.
She was taken to Parkland Medical Center in Derry in a semi-conscious state. In his affidavit, Feole said that when a nurse asked Case if she took any drugs, he overheard her respond by saying that she took “100 clonidine pills” in a suicide attempt.
When Feole requested breath, blood and physical tests, Case allegedly told him that they weren’t necessary.
“It’s obvious that I’m impaired and the blood is going to show that, so why do you need the other tests?” she responded, according to the affidavit.
Feole said Case didn’t respond when asked repeatedly if she was refusing or agreeing to the tests and then told him to “go away.”