Woman charged with shoplifting, leading North Adams police on chase with 2 kids in car

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NORTH ADAMS — A Vermont woman suspected of shoplifting is facing multiple charges after she allegedly led police on a brief chase through the city on Friday — with two children in her car — and crashed into another vehicle on Eagle Street.

Amanda Sawyer, 28, of Bennington, was released on personal recognizance on Tuesday after pleading not guilty to reckless endangerment of a child and other charges.

About 4:45 p.m. Friday, Walmart Supercenter personnel alerted police that Sawyer — who had already been ordered not to trespass on the store's property — was concealing items and trying to steal them, according to a criminal complaint filed by North Adams Police Officer Matthew Meranti.

Sawyer was spotted driving north on State Street after she left the store, and an officer tried to stop her as she turned right onto Main Street, police said. But in an attempt to evade police, she ran a red light at the intersection of Union and Eagle streets, and made her way through residential streets until she struck another vehicle while turning from Barth Street back onto Eagle Street.

After the collision, Sawyer drove south on Eagle Street, despite it causing serious damage to the front of her vehicle, police said. Her vehicle locked up and stopped near the intersection of Eagle Street and Hospital Avenue, and she was arrested.

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The two children were checked by emergency medical personnel and did not appear to be injured.

The occupants of the vehicle Sawyer struck were also uninjured, and the vehicle suffered only minor damage.

Sawyer pleaded not guilty in Northern Berkshire District Court on Tuesday to two counts of reckless endangerment of a child and single counts each of reckless operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of property damage, shoplifting by asportation, trespassing, failure to stop for police and speeding.

She was scheduled to appear on May 20 for a pretrial hearing.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.


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