NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Police have arrested a man who allegedly carjacked a tractor-trailer during rush hour on I-95 Tuesday afternoon, causing a multi-car crash.
The crash tied up traffic for hours on I-95 south in the Long Wharf area.
According to State Police, around 5:15 p.m., they received multiple 911 calls about a pedestrian – later identified as Frank Montes-Rivera, 50 – running across the travel lanes of I-95 south near Exit 46.
A short time later, Montes-Rivera carjacked a tractor-trailer. He hit the driver multiple times with a metal thermos and pushed him out of the truck onto the highway.
A witness on the scene, News 8’s own chief of operations, saw the whole thing go down. He recounted, “I see there’s a guy hanging on the window and he’s punching and grabbing at the guy in the cab and they’re fighting.”
WEB EXTRA: Full dashcam video: I-95 tractor-trailer carjacking/crash
Montes-Rivera then began to drive the tractor-trailer and plowed through several cars across three lanes in bumper-to-bumper traffic, ultimately hitting 10 vehicles before he came to a stop against the metal beam guardrail off the right shoulder.
“The cars were skidding and twisting the bumper pieces were flying off,” the witness added.
An arriving trooper approached Montes-Rivera from the passenger side of the truck and attempted to talk to him. Montes-Rivera then lunged at the trooper, who then deployed his taser, which caused Montes-Rivera to fall from the driver’s side of the truck and onto the highway.
The State’s Attorney Inspector Herb Johnson – a former New Haven Police assistant chief – happened to be sitting in that traffic and ran over to help the trooper.
As Johnson and the trooper attempted to take Montes-Rivera into custody, he began to fight Johnson. Police say he tried to take the inspector’s gun from his holster. The holster broke and Johnson was able to release Montes-Rivera’s hand from his gun.
Sgt. Christine Jeltema with Connecticut State Police said, “We are thankful he didn’t get the weapon. That’s why we have the training we have.”
Police say it was clear Montes-Rivera was under the influence of a narcotic or other substance.
Montes-Rivera was placed under arrest and transported to a local hospital. Johnson and the driver of the tractor-trailer sustained minor injuries, both were also transported to the hospital.
The other drivers involved in the crash are OK.
Police say this was Montes-Rivera’s second alleged carjacking of the day. It started earlier at a Citgo station on Chapel Street where he carjacked a man pumping gas.
The gas station clerk couldn’t believe it. They told us, “What happened is crazy, what happened is crazy; people doing things like that is not human.”
He crashed near the Mobil on Sargeant Ave. From there he walked onto the highway.
Montes-Rivera is charged with:
- 53a-136a- Robbery by Carjacking
- 53a-167a Interfering with an Officer
- 53a-167c Assault on Public Safety
- 53a-181 Breach of Peace 2nd Degree
- 53a-182 Disorderly Conduct
- 53a-60 Assault 2nd Degree
- 53a-60d Assault 2nd Degree with a Motor vehicle
- 53a-63 Reckless Endangerment 1st
Montes-Rivera was given a $100,000 bond and was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning.
“Luckily, there was a retired police officer who was in traffic and he got out of his vehicle to assist the trooper and got into a struggle as well. Minor injuries, but was injured, and then the call went over the radio, and our police department was able to respond and was able to subdue the individual and make the arrest,” said New Haven Police Chief Renee Dominguez Wednesday morning.
State police will continue their part of the investigation.