Police: Meriden man drove over 100 mph during highway pursuit, nearly hit construction workers

Police: Meriden man drove over 100 mph during highway pursuit, nearly hit construction workers


A Meriden man faces felony charges after state police say he drove over 100 mph on Interstate 91 Thursday, nearly hitting two workers in a construction zone before crashing in New Britain and fleeing on foot.

William Herschler, 27, of 38 N. First St., Meriden, was charged Thursday with reckless driving, third-degree larceny, second-degree criminal trover, first-degree criminal mischief, third-degree assault, interfering with police, criminal impersonation, computer crime, second-degree criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, disobeying the signal of an officer and driving while license is suspended.

About 2 a.m. Thursday, a state trooper on I-91 south by exit 29 saw a car approaching at a high rate of speed, according to the police report. As the car passed the trooper, it was clocked at between 78 and 82 mph, the report noted. The trooper began pursuing and the driver, later identified as Herschler, accelerated to 102 mph, at which point the trooper stopped pursuing.

Dispatch informed the trooper the car was reported stolen and that there was traffic from a construction zone in the area of exit 24, so the vehicle would be caught in the backup, the report said. The trooper continued to the area of the construction zone and tried to cut off Herchler for the safety of the workers and other troopers assigned to the zone, the report said. Herschler drove around the cruiser and accelerated, continuing south.

Herschler passed two more troopers, which joined the pursuit, and almost struck two construction workers, the report noted.

In the area of exit 23, troopers noted the car had a flat front tire and was being driven on the rim, going about 50 to 60 mph, the report noted. Herschler took exit 22N onto Route 9 northbound, reaching speeds of 100 mph, the report continued.

Herschler exited Route 9 onto Route 17 in Kensington and drove into New Britain, reaching speeds of 56 mph in a residential area, the report said. Troopers attempted to box Herchler in, which caused him to slow down. Herschler’s vehicle collided with a cruiser at a low speed, becoming disabled in the left shoulder of the road, the report said.

Troopers saw Herschler get out of the car and flee into a wooded area. Police canvassed the area with a dog and found Herschler at the corner of Route 372 and Steele Street in New Britain, where he was taken into custody.

Herschler denied being involved in the incident, and told police he was sleeping in the bushes, the report said.

Police noted Herschler was sweating profusely and out of breath. Herschler gave police a false name and date of birth, but he was identified by fingerprints, the report said.

Herschler was uncooperative during booking at a state police barracks, according to the report. He urinated on the floor of the processing room and unplugged a computer, the report stated.

Herschler signed several forms using a false identity before police discovered his true identity, the report said. Herschler was arraigned in New Britain Superior Court on Thursday. The judge set bond at $250,000 and continued the case to Sept. 13.

Herschler has four pending cases in Meriden Superior Court. The most recent case stems from an incident on July 17 where Herschler caused a “gruesome scene” in a Meriden Police Department holding cell after “aggressively” picking his nose, according to a police report.

— Lauren Sievert

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