1 crash leads to another, plus 3 detentions

BEDFORD – An accident including a State Police cruiser on the F.E. Everett Turnpike left a trooper with minor injuries and led to a second accident and the detainment of three people.

The cruiser, fully marked and with its lights flashing, was struck by a passing motorist in the breakdown lane on the turnpike shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday.

As a Bedford fire engine and ambulance headed to the scene, another vehicle rear-ended the fire truck and the Merrimack Fire Department was called for assistance.

The trooper, Scott Tracy, was treated at Elliot Hospital and released, according to a police statement.

The driver of the car that struck the fire engine was also taken to Elliot Hospital with non-lifethreatening injuries, according to Bedford Fire Chief Scott Wiggin.

Meanwhile, the driver of the SUV that hit Tracy’s cruiser, identified by state police as Luis Cristales, 42, and his two passengers, Mirna Gudiel-de-Vallejos, 42, and Esgar Maldonado, 46, all of Manchester, were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement because of immigration issues.

Cristales was charged with negligent driving, violating the Move Over Law and unsafe lane change.

Tracy was sitting in the cruiser in the breakdown lane just north of the Bedford tollbooth on the northbound side of the turnpike when the first accident happened.

He had finished processing someone he’d pulled over and still had his emergency lights activated when his car was hit, according to police.

The SUV “drifted right into the breakdown striking the cruiser that Trooper Tracy was still seated in,” according to the police statement.

The second accident occurred as the Bedford fire engine was turning from the southbound lanes into the northbound lanes, according to Wiggin, who responded to the accident in a separate vehicle.

The engine was making a U-turn in the area in front of the tollbooths, Wiggin said.

Police stopped traffic in two northbound lanes to allow the engine to make the turn, Wiggin said.

“And as the truck was turning, this vehicle struck the rear portion of the apparatus,” Wiggin said.

Wiggin said the vehicle’s airbags deployed on the driver and passenger sides of the front seat, and there was damage to the front end of the vehicle.

The driver was the only passenger, Wiggin said.

None of the firefighters were injured, Wiggin said, and the fire engine had minor damage but was back in service Tuesday afternoon.

Trooper Michael Pelletier, who reconstructs accident scenes, is leading the investigation of the crash, according to police.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Pelletier at 271-1154.