Darryl Whitaker, 55, of Chicopee, pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court today to two counts of wanton destruction of property, one count of reckless operation of a motor vehicle, and one count of reckless assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon (his vehicle).
He was sentenced to three years in state prison, a joint recommendation made by the prosecution and defense, and accepted by Judge Richard Carey.
Whitaker caused a crash on Interstate 91 North early in the morning of July 12, 2017 while fleeing the Massachusetts State Police at speeds approaching 100 MPH, after troopers attempted to stop him for prior warrants and motor vehicle violations.
After Whitaker’s Mustang hit a tire deflation device near the Connecticut River Oxbow, Whitaker continued to flee the police until he struck a construction pickup truck, causing injuries to the operator. He also hit a construction sign which landed on a pursuing cruiser’s windshield after being propelled through the air, damaging the cruiser. Troopers pulled an unconscious Whitaker from his car, which burst into flames, likely saving his life.
“The Massachusetts State Police are to be commended for yet another example of heroism and professionalism in the line of duty,” said First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne, who prosecuted the case.
“Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured or killed by the defendant’s exceptionally reckless conduct.”