A West Springfield man injured three people Tuesday night after he struck a police cruiser and two other vehicles while driving the wrong way — and drunk — on Interstate 91, according to authorities.
Yevgeniy Rudenko, 31, was behind the wheel of a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck around 10 p.m. when other drivers spotted him driving north on the southbound side of the highway after he entered Longmeadow from Connecticut, Massachusetts State Police said in a statement.
After authorities were alerted by the other drivers, a trooper on patrol in the area saw Rudenko’s truck coming toward him and positioned his cruiser in front of its path “in an attempt to stop (Rudenko) and prevent injury to other motorists,” the statement said.
“The suspect vehicle did not stop, hit the cruiser, and continued to go north in the southbound side,” police said. “It struck two other vehicles before flipping over.”
Rudenko suffered minor injuries to his hands when his ride came to the turbulent end, with his truck flipping over at the 3.6-mile marker and catching fire near Springfield, police said. He was visibly impaired when he was taken out of the truck, officials said.
The two other vehicles involved were a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and a 2011 Toyota Corolla, according to authorities. A 33-year-old Florida resident, who was a passenger in the Tahoe, and a 22-year-old, Enfield, Connecticut, woman, who was driving the Corolla, were brought to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield after suffering “incapacitating but nonlife-threatening injuries,” police said.
The trooper in the cruiser Rudenko hit was also brought to the hospital for minor injuries and was released Wednesday morning, officials said.
Rudenko faces several charges, including driving under the influence of liquor, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, possession of an open container of alcohol while driving, speeding, a state highway wrong-way violation, and a marked lanes violation, police said.
He was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday morning in Springfield District Court.