Friday afternoon around 5:30, state police Trooper Adam Frankelli was parked in the grassy median, pointing a radar gun at the Easter holiday traffic on southbound Route 33, when a car from Connecticut -- driven by a suspected drunken driver -- whizzed by at 86 mph.
But instead of pulling over as the trooper was signaling him to do -- and as one of his two passengers was screaming for him to do -- the driver took off, beginning a chase with speeds that topped 100 mph as the car passed other vehicles on the left using the grassy median.
The screaming passenger -- the driver’s sister -- later told police she eventually closed her eyes “because she believed she would die.”
Court records say the 2009 gray Infiniti G37 sedan kicked up a cloud of dirt near the Belfast exit and continued passing on the median between the Filetown Road overpass and the approaching Route 191 exit in Stockertown.
Even after exiting at Route 191, the car failed to pull over. The driver turned left onto Route 191 and then right onto Stockertown’s Main Street. With the trooper still in pursuit, the car approached the Valero gas station. Only when a marked Stockertown police car sped northbound with its lights activated did the fleeing car finally stop.
And there apparently were no crashes during the chase. The records say nothing about crashes.
Frankelli removed the driver -- Justin R. Savaglio, 27, -- at gunpoint. The two passengers were Savaglio’s sister and her boyfriend.
Savaglio was read his Miranda rights and then talked. He said he was aware of the trooper trying to pull him over but “he just ran.” He said his Connecticut driver’s license was suspended. And he admitted to having alcoholic beverages -- Four Loko, a malt beverage.
His sister told police she was screaming for him to stop, but he didn’t say a word and just kept driving.
Savaglio, of Brookfield in western Connecticut north of Danbury, is facing eight charges: fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, DUI, driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked, driving on roadways laned for traffic, driving on divided highways (related to driving on the grassy median), maximum speed limits, careless driving and reckless driving.
Savaglio was arraigned Friday night by on-duty District Judge Douglas Schlegel and was committed to Northampton County Prison after failing to post $5,000 bail.
He posted bail on Monday and was released, according to court records. Savaglio's preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on April 16 in front of Schlegel.
The above arrest information was supplied by the office of District Judge Douglas Schlegel. It does not indicate a conviction.