PITTSFIELD -- A Dalton man is being held on $15,000 cash bail on five charges stemming from a car chase through two communities on Saturday evening.

Joseph A. Drake, 46, of Main Street, stole a CD player and a pair of boots from the Walmart on Hubbard Avenue just after 6:15 p.m. Saturday, police said. When Pittsfield Police attempted to pull him over, Drake led them on a chase to Dalton and back before being taken into custody near the Berkshire County Jail, according to police.

Police said Drake initially stopped on Dalton Avenue. But when police pulled up behind him, he accelerated, swung back into traffic and drove to Dalton before returning to Pittsfield with police on his tail.

Dalton, Lanesborough and State Police units joined in the pursuit.

Drake disregarded stoplights and stop signs, drove up to 50 mph through residential neighborhoods, and forced other vehicles off the road, including a motorcycle that had to drive onto the sidewalk to avoid being hit by Drake, said police.

According to the report, Drake also struck a Dalton Police cruiser and avoided "Stop Sticks" -- a device used to deflate tires -- set by Massachusetts State Police at the intersection of Dalton Avenue and Cheshire Road by turning just before the spot at which they were deployed.

Drake eventually stopped his car in the middle of Cheshire Road. After allegedly refusing to comply with police demands, he was dragged from the vehicle by force. Once on the ground, he stymied police attempts to cuff his hands and was pepper sprayed and Tasered twice, according to the report.

Drake allegedly told police he had done heroin and was drinking alcohol beforehand.

On Monday in Central Berkshire District Court, Drake's attorney, Thomas C. Doyle, told the court the police overreacted and assaulted his client who was only "passively resisting" the officers. He said they didn't need to pepper spray Drake or use a stun gun on him twice.

In court, Drake had a swollen left eye and abrasions on his face. He was treated on Saturday at Berkshire Medical Center for his injuries.

Doyle said his client regretted his actions. He asked for $200 bail to be set in the case.

Drake pleaded not guilty to single counts of felony larceny over $250 and misdemeanor failure to stop for police, resisting arrest, driving with a suspended license, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Michael D'Angelo, cited Drake's criminal history, including a six-year prison sentence in Georgia for carjacking, as reason for his request of $20,000 cash or $200,000 surety bail.

Judge Matthew J. Shea ordered Drake held on $15,000 cash or $150,000 surety bail at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction.

The defendant is due back in court for a pretrial hearing on July 14.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com,
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