TAUNTON, Mass. — Radio transmissions reviewed by 25 Investigates show members of the Massachusetts State Police were involved in a coordinated effort with 3 local police agencies to find a drug suspect who allegedly attempted to run down a trooper before a crash that killed an innocent driver. A State Police spokesperson maintains there was no police pursuit.
The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office identifies the suspect as Hector Fernando Bannister-Sanchez, 34, of Norton and Medford. He is accused of striking and killing Lori Ann Medeiros, 54, of Middleborough on Monday afternoon.
Radio calls indicate troopers were not directly behind Bannister-Sanchez when he lost control of a 2017 Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicle on Kingman Road. The crash happened about ten minutes after he ran from members of an undercover drug task force in Middleborough.
After Bannister-Sanchez fled, a State Police dispatcher asks a trooper if he is in pursuit. The trooper responds, “I am not. Everyone’s trying to catch up with it now. No one’s in pursuit.”
In another call, a trooper is heard trying to catch up with Bannister-Sanchez and another trooper receives permission to deploy a tire deflation device known as “stop sticks” if he encountered his vehicle.
Officers from Middleborough, Lakeville, and Taunton are also heard trying to locate Bannister-Sanchez as he allegedly raced through those towns at a high rate of speed. A Lakeville Police Officer told his dispatcher, “I’m heading north on 18 now, see if I can cut it off and get sticks (tire deflation device) on it.”
Several officers reported following the speeding vehicle and at times, Bannister-Sanchez’s direction of travel and turns were broadcasted by police.
In a statement released late Wednesday afternoon, an MSP spokesperson said, “Troopers were able to track the suspect vehicle’s location remotely through the court-authorized GPS tracking device, and a unit member broadcast the suspect’s route of flight as others drove in his direction.”
About ten minutes after Bannister-Sanchez fled, a State Police supervisor tells everyone searching for him to, “back off” to allow a State Police helicopter to trail him. Nine seconds after that transmission, a trooper reports finding the deadly crash. Bannister-Sanchez ran away from the crash scene but was later caught.
As 25 Investigates has previously reported State Police policy dictates the “necessity of the apprehension” must outweigh the “risk created” by a pursuit. According to MSP, troopers drove in the direction of Bannister-Sanchez, “without having sight of the vehicle and not in active pursuit.”
A message left with the Lakeville Police Department was not returned.
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