A Massachusetts woman allegedly driving a stolen truck led police on a low-speed chase that ended when she stopped off at a McDonald’s to get food in the drive-thru.
On July 6 around 8:45 a.m., Johanna Gardell, 38, climbed into a stranger’s pickup truck in Worcester and drove away, but the vehicle was equipped with GPS and the owner could track it, police said in a statement.
A driver whose vehicle was struck by the stolen truck flagged down officers who were on their way to find the vehicle. When another officer located the truck, he activated his lights, got out of his squad car and approached the stolen vehicle but Gardell took off, driving through red lights, the Worcester Police Department said.
After hitting heavy traffic, Gardell drove in the wrong direction and attempted to go around stopped vehicles and then hit a van.
“At this point, two officers working a detail and another officer in the area approached the vehicle in an attempt to extract Ms. Gardell,” police said. “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.”
Meanwhile, Gardell headed to the drive-thru at McDonald’s in an attempt to order food.
“Officers approached her in two vehicles. She intentionally struck one of the vehicles, but went off the road and got her vehicle stuck in the mulch on McDonald’s property,” police said. “Officers approached the vehicle and were able to pull her out of it, while she fought and struggled.”
Gardell faces a slew of charges, including failure to stop for police, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon disorderly conduct, operating a motor vehicle after suspension of driver's license, and use of a motor vehicle without authority.