Saturday, 2:15 PM
Police investigating whether erratic driver had role in fatal crash of State Police captain
By John R. Ellement, Globe staff
Investigators probing the crash that killed State Police Captain Richard J. Cashin in Saugus on Tuesday are searching for a connection to an erratic driver spotted just minutes before by Saugus Police and another driver.
David Procopio, spokesman for the Massachusetts State Police, today furnished a chronology but also cautioned that investigators have not yet found any link between Cashin's death and the errant driver.
According to Procopio, a driver called State Police on their cellphone at 1:42:59 a.m. reporting a suspected drunk or erratic driver on Rte. 99 in Saugus headed toward Rte. 1. State Police dispatch alerted Saugus Police, Procopio said.
At 1:45 a.m., Saugus Police broadcast a description of "some sort of Jeep'' being driven by an erratic or drunk driver on Rte. 1 north, having gotten on the highway from Rte. 99.
At 1:47:30 a.m., State Police got their first call that Cashin had crashed his cruiser into a utility pole on Rte. 1 northbound near the Essex Street off ramp, the next exit north of the Rte. 99 onramp.
Cashin, who was the night shift commander of Troop A, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was married, and the couple had four children. He was active in civic affairs and youth sports in Boxford.
"We are not saying with certainty that he (Cashin) was involved in the search for that driver. We may never be able to state that with certainty,'' Procopio said.
"But based on the proximity of time and location between the erratic driver call and his crash, it's reasonable to conclude it's a possibility that he was traveling up Rte. 1 to look for that driver.''
Procopio said Saugus Police did locate and stop the driver, but said information on that traffic stop had to come from Saugus Police. A Saugus Police spokesman, Lieutenant Michael Annese, referred questions on the crash to Massachusetts State Police.
Procopio and Steve O'Connell, spokesman for Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, said the investigation into Cashin's fatal crash is ongoing.
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