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Driver In Wild High-Speed Chase Was Attempting 'Suicide By Cop'

WEST ROXBURY (CBS) -- A wild high-speed chase that ran through several towns and Route 128 ended Wednesday morning with one man taken into custody in West Roxbury.

Police said Michael LeBlanc of Abington led them on the chase, during which witnesses said he drove erratically, narrowly missing other drivers and smashing against barriers and guardrails as his damaged car spouted steam and smoke.

michael leblanc
Michael LeBlanc. (Walpole Police Department)

The chase began in Walpole, when police responded to a call about a suspicious person parked on a dam behind the Walpole Country Club.

Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael said that when an officer tried to talk to the man inside the car, later identified by Walpole Police as LeBlanc, he gave answers that "didn't make much sense."

Police said he then sped away suddenly, with the officer, identified by Walpole Police as Officer Matt Crown, still hanging on to the car.

Officer Matt Crown Chase
Walpole Police Officer Matt Crown. (Image Credit: Linked In)

Crown returned to his cruiser and joined the pursuit. He was eventually taken to Faulkner Hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

"He seems to have an injury to his arm, got a little banged up when he fell off the side of the car," Chief Carmichael said of Crown, who he said was dragged about 100 yards.

Juanita Crown, the officer's mother, said she spoke with her son and she was thankful his injuries were not more serious.

"He was fine," she said. "Nothing was broken, he didn't have anything like that, and he was making his way back into Walpole."

The chase then went through and around heavy traffic on 128, first travelling Northbound and then turning around and heading Southbound. The driver eventually screeched off the highway onto Great Plain Avenue in Needham and into a residential neighborhood before heading on to Route 1 in West Roxbury.

The driver finally stopped behind a building on the VFW Parkway in West Roxbury, where he got out and ran off. As television helicopters broadcast the scene, the car, which appeared to be heavily damaged from the pursuit, went up in flames.

police chase car fire
The car stopped behind a business in West Roxbury and the driver ran away before police could get to him. (WBZ-TV)

While evading the police, the driver entered an apartment building. A resident told WBZ-TV's Beth Germano that he was watching the chase on TV when the driver tried to get into his apartment, and offered money to hide him.

"I'm watching what's unfolding, and I'm going, wow, this is close," said the man. "A few minutes later, somebody is knocking on my door...I opened the door a little bit, and he kept trying to stuff money at me, 'Please, let me in, let me in.' I go 'no,' and I'm fighting, and I was able to push the door closed."

LeBlanc was captured a short time later.

walpole police chase arrest
The driver was brought to the Walpole Police station after the chase. (WBZ-TV)

"I think he knew that, once the officers converged on him, there was nowhere else to go, and he kind of gave up," said Chief Carmichael.

During the booking process, Carmichael says LeBlanc asked police "what he has to do to get shot by the police."

He was taken away in a police cruiser to the Walpole Police station to face a charge of attempted murder and is being held on $500,000 bail. He was later taken to the hospital to take a voluntary blood test.

Norwood Police said one of their cruisers was briefly involved in the chase, but stopped pursuit after it sideswiped a pole.

A witness told WBZ LeBlanc almost hit him head-on.

"I saw this late-model dark car coming at me in my lane," witness Gene Hartigan said. "There was very little room to maneuver, but I swerved just in time, he was maybe about a foot away from me at the time."

Another witness said he was almost clipped by the driver while coming out of a Dunkin' Donuts.

"I started going and I had a weird feeling so I stopped. If I had just kept going, he would have taken me out, taken my car out," witness Michael Potts said.

"I'm sure that there's more to this...if you're going to flee the police like that," said Chief Carmichael, "but that's going to be part of the investigation from here on out."

LeBlanc is expected to be arraigned Thursday morning in Wrentham District Court.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Lana Jones reports

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