NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. —An alleged drunken driver arrested while hiding 30 feet up a tree Friday on Interstate 290 “rambled on about being an owl” when confronted, police wrote in court documents.
Troy A. Prockett, 37, of Hudson, was arraigned Monday on a slew of charges — including third-offense drunken driving — after town firefighters had to use a bucket truck to bring a cop 30 feet into a tree to arrest him, the MetroWest Daily News reported.
Documents in Westborough District Court provide additional details about the unusual arrest, including the fact that police at one point feared the man’s daughter might have been ejected from his vehicle.
According to a police report, State Trooper Michael J. McCammon was driving on I-290 west at about 7 p.m. when he saw a white Nissan Maxima spinning out of control between the first two travel lanes. Snow flew up into the air, McCammon wrote, as the Maxima hit a snowbank near the breakdown lane and came to a stop resting partially in the first and second lanes.
McCammon said at least three other cars had to abruptly brake and swerve in order to avoid a collision, at which time he activated his cruiser’s red and blues.
McCammon said the Maxima — which was missing its front bumper and had damage to its rear — then turned around and crossed into the second lane of travel, causing another vehicle to swerve to the left to avoid it.
McCammon said the Maxima then continued forward at about 20 mph for about three-quarters of a mile in the breakdown lane, refusing to stop even though McCammon’s cruiser was directly behind it with his lights activated.
After the car did stop, McCammon said the driver got out, ran in front of his cruiser and then “jumped over the guard rail running down the embankment into the woods.”
McCammon said he found Prockett’s wallet inside the Maxima — which he said reeked of alcohol — and called for help setting up a search. While calling the station, he learned Marlborough police had received a call from a woman at a gas station who reported she saw a drunken man driving the same vehicle with a child inside.
Police with a search dog then tracked the man’s sole footprints in the snow, McCammon wrote, finding a running jacket on the trail.Emergency radio communications show it required police about an hour searching in the single-digit temperatures before they found Prockett hiding in a tree.
When asked to surrender, Prockett refused in “very slurred speech,” McCammon wrote, and then “asked if we had caught the guy who was driving and climbed higher in the tree.”
When police informed Prockett that there was only one set of footprints in the snow, Prockett reportedly replied that the driver “had carried him on his back.”McCammon said Prockett then “continued speaking about what a good guy he was and rambling on about being an owl in a tree. “He continually refused commands to climb down and instead climbed even higher, shaking the branches and saying, ‘Look it’s snowing.’”
McCammon said police continually asked Prockett where the child spotted in Marlborough was. He said Prockett, though admitting it was his daughter, provided false information about her whereabouts.
At that time, McCammon said police asked Northborough firefighters to come to the highway to help get Prockett down from the tree and “to utilize their thermal imaging device to search the crash area for the possibility of the child being ejected into the woods.”
Firefighters used their aerial tower to get up near Prockett, and then had to use a chainsaw to cut down branches so they could get to him. McCammon went up with a firefighter and arrested Prockett while in the bucket.
McCammon said Prockett eventually told police where his daughter was and they confirmed that she was safe.Prockett, of 367 River Road, is charged with third-offense drunken driving, failure to stop for police, resisting arrest, leaving the scene of property damage and disturbing the peace. He was also ticketed for a marked lanes violation. Prockett refused a Breathalyzer test, McCammon wrote, and could be heard telling someone on the phone,. “I think I’m borderline.”
Police said when they asked Prockett later why he refused to climb down the tree despite being surrounded, he told them he was “scared” because he already had two drunken driving charges.
“Soooooo, I just decided to go for a little run,” police quoted the man as saying.
When asked at what point in the night he had been driving with his daughter, he reportedly replied, “Awwww see, now you are just trying to get me to talk so you can add more charges.”
According to police, Prockett was has been convicted of drunken driving twice, once in 2003 and again in 2005. By refusing the Breathalyzer, his license is automatically suspended for five years.Westborough District Court Judge Jennifer Stark ordered Prockett held on $3,000 bail. Records show he posted bail and was released.