Woman in Hummer strikes cruisers, injures officers in chase

April 4, 2022 GMT

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — A woman in a Hummer crashed into eight police cruisers and injured seven officers during a long, destructive car chase Sunday in Connecticut, authorities said.

The driver was captured after she wrecked the large SUV in Monroe, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) away from where the pursuit began in Waterbury. Hannah Casperson, 25, of Brookfield, was wanted in connection with dozens of car break-ins and other thefts, officials said.

She was taken to a hospital with injuries that were serious but not life-threatening, including a broken femur, police said Monday.

Police got information that she was parked next a building in Waterbury and approached the Hummer shortly after 8:30 a.m. Casperson then sped away from an officer who was on foot and crashed into his cruiser and later another before getting onto Interstate 84 and then Route 8, police said.

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The chase went into Monroe, where police said Casperson did a U-turn and crashed into six police cruisers that were pursuing her. After hitting the last cruiser, the Hummer flipped over and struck a utility pole around 9:15 a.m., police said. Casperson then tried to flee on foot, but was quickly arrested, officials said.

Six officers were taken to a hospital and later discharged, police said. Another injured officer did not need hospital treatment, officials said.

“This is a terrible situation that we just had to deal with here at the police department,” Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said at a news conference Monday.

Spagnolo said charges against Casperson were pending, including assault on police officers and engaging police in pursuit. He said there were multiple warrants pending for her arrest on other charges in connection with thefts in Waterbury.

Spagnolo also praised a police officer who did not fire his gun at Casperson when she crashed into the first cruiser, despite believing his life was in danger.

Messages seeking comment were left with public defenders for Casperson in other cases.

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Court records show she pleaded guilty in November to criminal mischief and failure to appear in court and was sentenced to 18 months of probation. She also has a pending case in which she is charged with interfering with police and has pleaded not guilty.

Wolcott police said Casperson and a man who was arrested Friday were wanted in connection with 41 car break-ins in Wolcott. Authorities said windows were smashed out on all the vehicles and items were stolen. While officers arrested the man, police said Casperson fled and got away in the Hummer, which is owned by one of her relatives.

Police believe Casperson and the man were committing thefts to fuel drug addiction, Spagnolo said.