Airbag deployed, driver denies crash

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WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – A Westfield State student who drove away after smashing his pickup truck into a Franklin Street utility pole attempted to brazen it out when subsequently stopped by police but was arrested nonetheless.

Police report that multiple callers, starting at 11:27 p.m. Saturday, reported that a vehicle struck a utility pole near the corner of Franklin and Madison streets but immediately left the area. Officers were advised to be on the lookout for the vehicle and Officer Nathan Osowski spotted a vehicle with heavy front end damage a short time late near the intersection of Thomas and Mechanic streets and stopped the pickup truck.

Osowski reports that the operator, subsequently identified as Timothy Fitzgerald, 21, of 35 Shoreham St., Quincy, said that he was not injured and denied that he had been involved in a crash but was unable to explain why his airbag had deployed. Osowski also reports that he immediately noticed an odor of alcohol when he was speaking with Fitzgerald whose speech was slow and slurred. The officer reports that when he asked the young man if he knew where  the operator was said “of course I do” but did not answer the question and repeatedly said that he was going home.

The young man attempted a series of field sobriety tests but, when he was through, Osowski deemed him to have failed the tests and he was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

A supervisory officer later stated that the crash was captured by a video camera which showed that, after the vehicle veered off the roadway (at which point is a straightaway) to strike the utility pole the pickup truck backed away from the pole and continued eastbound toward Elm Street.

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Media Credit: The Westfield News

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