Massachusetts Fire Chief Led Troopers on Criminal Chase While Driving Drunk

A Massachusetts fire chief has been charged with drunk driving after he led troopers on a criminal chase in a pickup truck with sparks coming from a front wheel.

Police arrested 54-year-old Ambrose Smith on Friday, after a driver reported seeing a Honda Ridgeline that appeared to be traveling on three flat tires at around 12:44am, Dave Procopio, director of media communications for Massachusetts State Police, told Newsweek. The vehicle was heading southbound on Route 195 near Faunce Corner Road.

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A trooper later found Smith driving near exit 12 on Interstate 195 at 65mph, with "sparks coming from the front left of the vehicle," according to their report seen by The Herald News.

When the trooper attempted to flag down Smith, he left the highway. A chase ensued when the trooper once again tried to get Smith to pull over as he was held at a red traffic light on Faunce Corner Road.

After the trooper pursued Smith for another 1.5 miles, he surrendered beside a cemetery near Chase Road, causing the pair of vehicles to almost collide.

The trooper wrote in a report seen by The Herald News that as they tried to block the vehicle in the cemetery: "I saw the reverse lights on the vehicle illuminate, the rear end of the truck elevate and I heard the vehicle aggressively back up toward my cruiser.

"I was able to quickly maneuver out of the vehicle's way and avoid a collision."

The fire chief then headed north toward Faunce Corner Mall Road, where he was apprehended by officers.

Procopio said that as the trooper removed Smith from the vehicle—which was in gear— it ran over his foot. The trooper did not require medical attention.

A police report seen by WPRI stated the truck smelled of alcohol. Smith's eyes had a "glassy and bloodshot" appearance and he struggled to answer the trooper's questions. However, he was able to tell the trooper he was the district fire chief in Fall River.

The Herald News reported, citing a trooper, that the vehicle had sustained "significant damage to the right front headlight, bumper, and hood area as if he had recently struck something. Both front tires had disintegrated down to the rims."

Fall River Fire Department Chief John Lynch told WPRI that Smith started with the force in 1998, and described the incident as "totally out of character."

Smith is not working as police investigate the occurrence, said Lynch, however he has not been suspended from the fire department.

Smith, of 12 Clarks Cove Drive in South Dartmouth, has been charged with crimes including failing to stop for police and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

Police have suspended his license, and he is due to appear in court on February 1, The Herald News reported.

This article has been updated with information from Dave Procopio.

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Ambrose Smith has been charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Getty Images