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Animal Cruelty Among Charges Mass. Man Faces After Police Chase

LEICESTER (CBS) - An East Brookfield man is facing animal cruelty charges along with a number of traffic-related charges after allegedly leading Leicester Police on a chase Friday afternoon.

Officials say the series of events started around 2:45 p.m. with a report of an erratic driver that had run a red light in Spencer and almost struck three pedestrians.

That report was followed by a 911 call about a hit and run crash in North Brookfield involving a white pickup truck.

As police were looking for the truck, a third caller reported seeing a Jack Russell Terrier fly out the window of a white pickup truck and land on the road.

The witness stopped and helped the dog, bringing it to a nearby animal hospital. The dog suffered cuts and abrasions, but was expected to survive.

The driver of the white pickup truck, later identified by police as Robert G. Astrella, 32, did not stop.

A short time later, officers spotted him driving in Leicester and pulled him over.

Astrella stopped, but police say he took off again as the officer walked up to his truck.

The officer chased the truck, which eventually crashed into a stream on Perry Place in Auburn.

Animal Cruelty Case
Leicester Police say this Jack Russel terrier was thrown from an East Brookfield man's pickup truck. (Credit: Image via Leicester Police Department)

Astrella was arrested and charged with Animal cruelty, Failing to stop for a police officer, Operating after suspension, Reckless operation of a motor vehicle, Speeding, Failure to stop at a stop sign, Operating an unregistered motor vehicle, Operating an uninsured motor vehicle and Attaching plates to a motor vehicle.

Police indicated other charges are possible as the investigation progresses.

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