By Hiroko Sato
DUNSTABLE -- The Police Department is awaiting the final report on last week's accident involving a police cruiser after an officer crashed into a stone wall on Main Street while chasing a car.
Officer Ryan Koles received several stitches at the hospital as the result of the Oct. 4 accident. He returned to work Oct. 7, according to Chief James Downes, Jr. No one else was involved or injured in the accident. Downes declined to elaborate on the extent of Koles' injuries.
The accident happened at about 10 a.m. While on Main Street, Koles spotted a vehicle that appeared to be in violation of traffic regulations and began following it east with the lights on the cruiser, Downes said. When Koles was trying to turn a corner near Lowell Street, the cruiser skidded off the road and crashed into a stone wall and a gate, knocking down the wall. The road was wet from rain and slippery, according to Downes.
The impact caused heavy damage to the front of the cruiser and the bumper fender. Downes did not know Wednesday whether the cruiser was repairable, but said insurance should pay for the repair or a replacement of the vehicle.
Koles, who was bleeding, was transported to the hospital. Downes immediately decided to have a third-party investigation because the accident involved a member of the department. The preliminary review indicates the mile-per-hour speed of the cruiser was in the 40s just before the crash, Downes said. There is also no indication of the officer using a cellphone or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, Downes added. Asked by The Sun if Koles was wearing a seat belt, Downes said he will need to see the final report.
No disciplinary action has been taken against Koles, who was hired by the local police department less than a year ago. The cruiser has been towed to a repair shop in the Boston area. Downes declined to say how many cruisers the town has but said that the department is operational without the damaged cruiser.