Traffic snarls after man steals car, leads police on chase

April 17th, 2014

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff
A Burlington man was cited on seven charges after leading police on a car and foot chase and crashing into several vehicles, blocking traffic on U.S. Route 2A for nearly four hours.
Police say Anthony Grasso, 49, raced down Route 2A Monday afternoon, crashing into three cars. He then leapt over the bridge into the Allen Brook before police caught him.
Williston Police cited Grasso on charges of driving with a suspended license, attempting to elude, gross negligent operation, excessive speed, leaving the scene of an accident with injury, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest.
South Burlington Police put out an area-wide alert at 4:31 p.m. on Monday, advising that Grasso had stolen a car from a South Burlington business. A minute later, Sgt. Keith Gonyeau said, they updated the alert, saying that there was a box cutter in the vehicle and Grasso was on “escape status” with the Vermont Department of Corrections.
Six minutes later, a Williston Police officer on patrol spotted the vehicle on Route 2A at Taft Corners.
“What we had at this time was a stolen vehicle where the person could possibly be armed and was wanted on escape status,” Gonyeau said. “That obviously caused us to want to attempt to initiate a traffic stop.”
From there, Gonyeau said, things happened very fast.
The officer attempted to stop the vehicle at 4:38 p.m.
“A brief chase of less than a mile ensued, with speeds reaching over 70 miles per hour on Essex Road,” Gonyeau said.
At 4:39 p.m., the officer—whose name has not yet been released—called in saying a crash had occurred.
Grasso had collided with two vehicles, causing the car he was driving to spin. Grasso hit a third car before coming to a stop. The driver of one of the cars was injured.
“After the crash, Grasso climbed out of the driver’s window and jumped off the bridge into the Allen Brook,” Gonyeau said.
After a brief chase on foot, Williston Police officers apprehended Grasso, with the help of South Burlington Police officers. Vermont State Police were called in to investigate the crash.
Route 2A was closed between Blair Park and Industrial Avenue for approximately four hours, snarling rush hour traffic.
Grasso was lodged at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility.
According to previous police reports, Grasso was arrested in 2008 and cited on charges of assault and robbery after an incident at Clark’s Sunoco in Williston in 2007.