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UPDATED: Local Man Flees Traffic Stop, Heads North on Route 128 South

A Reading man fled from police Thursday night and nearly struck a vehicle containing a family of four.

Update: The suspect in this case, Richard S. Saunders, of 46 Sturges Rd., in Reading, was apprehended by Reading Police on Thursday, Jan. 5. He was subsequently released on $100 cash bail and was arraigned in Woburn District Court this morning.

The fear didn’t really set in until after the ordeal ended, according to Stephanie Cimeno.

Cimeno, a mother of two from Florida, was visiting friends in Reading for the holidays when she nearly ran smack-dab into a man fleeing from police—or, more accurately, he nearly ran into her.

A local man, fleeing police following a traffic stop on Thursday night, took off heading the wrong way on Route 128 south, nearly colliding with Cimeno in the process.

When she saw the headlights approaching, her first reaction was to wonder if she had gotten on 128, at the Main Street ramp, going the wrong way. 

She hadn’t. The approaching headlights belonged to a Jeep Cherokee owned by a 48-year-old Reading man, who a short while before encountering Cimeno, her husband and their two children, aged 11 and eight, had fled after being pulled over by the Reading Police and sped off northbound on 128 south.

“[The Jeep] was going extremely fast,” Cimeno said. “They turned their lights on and they were coming straight at us. They saw my headlights and just swerved.”

The suspect then went off the road, onto the grass median, according to Cimeno, who was watching in the rearview mirror. It was then she saw the police lights—heading in the right direction—and realized what was happening.

Although the Cherokee ended up missing her car by about 100 yards, in the aftermath of her involvement in the incident, Cimeno felt a surge of relief when thinking about “what would’ve, could’ve happened."

“I’m relieved,” she said. “I’m traveling out of state with my family, with two children, and I’m just relieved that we’re fine.”

The suspect exited the highway at North Avenue and fled into Wakefield. The Wakefield Police, as well as the Mass. State Police and surrounding communities, were notified to be on the lookout for the Jeep. While the suspect was not immediately located, a plethora of charges await him in Reading.

The Jeep's driver will have to answer for speeding, marked lanes violation, operating to endanger, a wrong way violation, failure to keep right for oncoming motor vehicles, failure to stop for police and disorderly conduct.

Reading Police originally stopped the Jeep around 10:17 p.m. on Thursday, after receiving reports that a vehicle matching the description was speeding up and down Sturges Road.

The RPD also filed an "immediate threat" request with the Registry of Motor Vehicles which, if granted, would result in the immediate suspension of the suspect’s driving privileges

It is still unclear at this time if the suspect has been apprehended.

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