WALTHAM - A Waltham police officer and a National Grid worker were struck and killed by a pickup truck at a roadside detail Wednesday afternoon. Two other National Grid workers were injured in the crash on Totten Pond Road. The driver then fled the scene and stole a police cruiser at knifepoint, police said.
Peter Simon, 54, of Woodsville, New Hampshire was driving the car that struck and killed 58-year-old Waltham police officer Paul Tracey, and a 36-year-old National Grid worker from Cambridge, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said. The name of the National Grid worker has not been released.
Ryan said Simon was driving on Totten Pond Road when he pulled over to the shoulder and attempted to make a U-turn. He then struck a car that was behind him, continued down the road and struck the officer and the worker.
Simon's truck then hit two other vehicles before he fled on foot into a neighborhood, Ryan said. There, he encountered another Waltham police officer. He allegedly pulled out a knife, stole the officer's cruiser and fled.
After leading police on a chase, Simon crashed the cruiser on Winter Street and fled on foot before he was captured.
Officer Tracey was a 28-year veteran of the Waltham Police Department and a father of two children.
"Paul Tracey served this great city with distinction," Waltham Police Chief Kevin O'Connell said. "He was a compassionate police officer, and always looked out for the underdog. He was an amazing husband, a loving father, and a friend to all."
Simon is charged with two counts of manslaughter and armed robbery. He is expected to be arraigned in Waltham District Court on Thursday morning. Additional charges are likely.
"Clearly what happened today is an unimaginable tragedy," Ryan said. "These two men were doing their job at 4 o'clock in the afternoon when they were killed and crashes like this happen far too often."
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