Propane Case Follow-up

The investigation continues into an incident in which two -- possibly three -- suspects, all Harvard residents, ignited a propane tank at a local residence, endangering themselves and others. Statements are still being taken from the suspects and witnesses, Sgt. James Babu said. Sgt. John Coates is investigating, with charges pending.

Suspicious Motor Vehicle

A caller reported last Tuesday morning, June 4, that an older green Lincoln was operating erratically on Ayer Road, that the driver was weaving and possibly drunk. The driver, an older man, was pulled over at the bridge and he and his passenger came to the police station to talk to an officer. The driver claimed the complaining party was tailgating his vehicle.

Parked outside the police station, his vehicle was rather distinctive, with a rusty body peppered with stickers and what appeared to be aluminum foil above the windshield. Having quickly determined he was not breaking any laws, the officer thanked him for coming in and the two men went on their way.

Mutual Aid

At the request of Lincoln Police, officers went to an Old Mill Road residence and seized firearms and a firearms license from the resident, who had recently moved to town. According to the other police department, the man had been arrested for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol in Lincoln. Also, he did not change the address on his firearms license when he moved to Harvard, as he was legally required to do, Sgt. Babu said. Lincoln Police apparently intended to pull the license, which must now be renewed in Harvard. As for the guns, the owner can authorize a licensed person to keep them until he's able to retrieve and legally retain them, Sgt. Babu said.

In a separate instance on Friday afternoon, June 7, Ayer Police asked Harvard Police to be on the lookout for a man wanted for domestic assault and battery. The suspect was described as a white male carrying a suitcase and his name was provided. He was not located in Harvard, however.

Medical Emergency

Police and EMTs responded to a Bolton Road residence Wednesday morning, June 5, where a woman in her 30s was severely intoxicated and in need of medical assistance. It was not their first trip to that address for similar incidents, Sgt. James Babu said. Considered a danger to herself due to self-administered alcohol poisoning, the woman was taken into protective custody under "section 12" and transported by ambulance to Emerson Hospital in Concord.

Lost and Found

A customer who dropped off clothing at the Harvard cleaners left his wallet behind. It wasn't clear whether the wallet was found on the counter or in a pocket but it was turned over to the police. The owner was contacted and picked it up.

Cautionary Advice

A police officer driving by a residence on Ayer Road observed a young child of about 3 years old playing too close to the busy roadway. The officer stopped to talk to the parents, advising them it wasn't safe for the child to play there.

Suspicious Activity?

A caller reported hearing hammering and machine noises coming from a vacant house on Depot Road Wednesday afternoon, June 5. The police report did not provide further information, but apparently, nothing was found.

Late Friday night, June 7, a caller reported having seen two young men "wearing very little" or possibly naked lying in the road near The Bromfield School. Nothing was found. It is highly unlikely that the startling scenario was a reliable report, however. Sgt. Babu said nobody else reported seeing anything unusual in the well-traveled area. 

Vandalism is a Felony

A road sign knocked down at the intersection of Old Littleton and Pinnacle roads Thursday night seems to have been the target of vandals whose intent was to steal it. The caller who reported the incidents saw a couple of girls and a car parked nearby but could not provide further identification of the suspects or the vehicle.

The sign was replaced, Sgt. Babu said, and the perpetrators may have considered what they were doing a prank, collecting signs, but removing them is no joke. Stop signs and other traffic signs are placed where they are as a safety measure and removing them could cause an accident. Street signs not only help motorists navigate local streets and roadways, they are also used by public safety personnel to find addresses they are looking for in cases of crime, accident, fire or medical emergency. Either way, vandalizing property. whether it's a road sign or a mailbox, is now a felony and a conviction could lead to jail time, Sgt. Babu said. That's no joke, either.

Motor Vehicle Accidents, OUI Arrests

On Saturday, June 8, a single vehicle crash occurred on Eldrige Road. The accident was reported in an E-911 call at 4:06 a.m. The caller was a resident who said a car had crashed at the end of her driveway and she could hear someone calling for help.

When police and the ambulance responded, the homeowner was assisting the driver, 34-year old Jennifer Sundeen, of Scott Road, who was out of the car and had sustained substantial visible injuries to her face and right leg, Sgt. James Babu said.

The vehicle hit a tree and the air bags deployed. The woman told police she was returning home after visiting a friend and was talking to her husband on her cell phone when the crash occurred. She failed to negotiate a curve and went off the road, traveling 61 feet from the roadway. It was raining and very dark, according to the crash report.

Sgt. John Coates and Officer Scott Hughes responded. They noted signs the driver had been drinking and she acknowledged she'd had some wine. She was transported by ambulance to Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer. A blood alcohol test was administered at the hospital.

Sundeen was arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, driving so as to endanger, marked lanes violation and speeding. She was also charged with use of a mobile phone while driving.

The vehicle was estimated to have been traveling at 45 miles per hour (the speed limit is 30) when the accident occurred. At that speed, hitting a solid object such as tree could have resulted in a fatality, said Sgt. Babu, who has specialized training in accident reconstruction. But he surmised that the vehicle had slowed by then, sliding into the tree rather than colliding head-on and the impact was less severe.

It was still serious, however. The vehicle was towed.

In another incident that occurred on Sunday, June 9, at 7:49 p.m. on Bolton Road, an alert resident probably prevented an accident when she called police to report an older model red Dodge Durango operating erratically, swerving back and forth between lanes.

Officer Scott Hughes subsequently arrested the driver, 51-year old Leocadio Reyes, of Ayer. He was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, operating so as to endanger and marked lanes violation.

Responding to the resident's call, Officer Hughes pulled the vehicle over and had to ask the driver several times to roll down his window. When he finally did so, the officer noted a strong odor of alcohol and administered field sobriety tests, which Reyes failed.

He also failed the Breathalyzer test by default. Sgt. Babu explained that suspects sometimes attempt to minimize the reading by holding back while blowing into the machine, but after three tries, they fail the test. Reyes got four chances, he said.

According to the accident report, Reyes said he'd had two beers. He was advised of his rights - in English and Spanish - when he was arrested, Sgt. Babu said. The vehicle was towed.

Dog Complaint

A Murray Lane resident reported to police Sunday afternoon, June 9, that a dog was chasing chickens and a donkey on his property. The man said he tracked down the dog's owner at the town beach and that the man put the dog in his car and went off for a walk with his daughter, leaving the dog alone in the car. The car windows were open, the caller said, but he was apparently worried about the animal, so he took it out of the car. Wrapping the story, the caller said the dog owner returned and took the dog home.