A high-speed police charge came to a bizarre end on Tuesday, July 6 after the woman driving the vehicle being pursued stopped at McDonald’s to order food from the drive-thru. The chase started at around 8:45 a.m. in Worcester, Massachusetts after officers received a 911 call about a stolen truck in the city, ABC News reports. The man who reported the theft said he saw a woman he didn’t know climb into his truck before pulling away.
- The truck had GPS tracking enabled. That meant its rightful owner could see where it was at all times, making it much easier for police to track it – and the driver – down. Officers headed to the area, where another driver revealed that the woman had hit their car moments prior before driving off. They managed to track down Johanna Gardell, 38, just a few moments later.
- Gardell wasn’t going to go quietly. After the officer brought the truck to a stop, a Worcester Police Department officer “activated his blue lights, got out of his cruiser, and approached the stolen vehicle,” the department said in a statement. However, Gardell “drove away as the officer walked toward her” and while the officer got back in his own vehicle to pursue her, she refused to stop.
- She led officers on a dangerous chase that could have injured or even killed people. “Ms. Gardell began to increase her speed on Main St and drove through red lights. The officer deactivated his lights and sirens and stopped following her for safety reasons,” the statement continued. They added that she drove in the wrong lane and into oncoming tracking, hitting a van. “She backed up the vehicle at a high rate of speed and struck a cruiser behind her, and knocked down and dragged one of the detail officers. Officers pursued the stolen vehicle at a low rate of speed before the pursuit was called off for safety reasons.”
- Eventually, Gardell got hungry and decided to stop. She’s said to have pulled into the drive-thru of a local McDonald’s to order food but she was arrested by police before she got a chance to do so. She drove into a few more vehicles before ending up in a pile of mulch on the property, police reveal. She put up a struggle but was eventually arrested.
- Gardell is facing a long list of charges. Those charges include failure to stop for police, leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon malicious mischief to a motor vehicle, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, and use of a motor vehicle without authority, just to name a few. She’ll continue to be investigated and will appear in court for an arraignment shortly.