For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Merrimac Police Charge Driver who Crashed Vehicle Into House After Pursuit
MERRIMAC — Chief Eric M. Shears reports that the Merrimac Police Department has filed charges against the driver who drove his car off the road, through a parking lot, and into a house earlier this month.
MATTHEW BENOIT, AGE 41, OF DERRY, N.H. is charged with:
- Wanton Destruction of Property Over $250 (felony)
- Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol (misdemeanor)
- Speeding (misdemeanor)
- Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle (misdemeanor)
- Failure to Stop for a Police Officer (misdemeanor)
- Marked Lanes Violation (misdemeanor)
Just after 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, a Merrimac officer was stationed at the Merrimac Police Department (16 East Main St.) when he observed a dark-colored 2007 Honda mini-van with its hazard lights on speeding east on East Main Street.
The officer attempted to make a motor vehicle stop on the Honda in the area of DeLeo’s Pizza (117 East Main St.), but the vehicle accelerated and continued toward the Merrimac Liquors plaza at 123 East Main St. The vehicle did not make any attempts to stay in the roadway and drove straight into the parking lot of Merrimac Liquors.
The motor vehicle crashed into two concrete barriers and a cage containing residential propane tanks at the front corner of Merrimac Liquors before rolling over several times through the parking lot, a wooden guard rail, a fence and then over a wall and into the side of an unoccupied residential home.
BENOIT was transported by ambulance to a local hospital and then later flown by medical helicopter to a Boston area hospital with serious injuries, where he is currently recovering.
BENOIT will be summonsed to Newburyport District Court at a later date.