Police: Woman who led officers on chase was arrested while ordering food in drive-thru

Drive Thru Lawsuit
Posted at 3:58 PM, Jul 07, 2021

WORCESTER, Mass. — Authorities in Massachusetts say a woman who led them on a chase Tuesday was arrested after she stopped at a McDonald’s drive-thru to order food.

The Worcester Police Department says its officers were investigating a report of a stolen pickup truck when they tracked down the vehicle and found 38-year-old Johanna Gardell inside.

As an officer approached the stolen vehicle, police say Gardell drove away. The officer then got back into his cruiser and followed the woman as she allegedly ran red lights.

As Gardell continued, police say she drove in a wrong lane against traffic to go around stopped vehicles and drove into a van. At that point, police say officers in the area approached the vehicle in an attempt to extract Gardell.

“She backed up the vehicle at a high rate of speed and struck a cruiser behind her, and knocked down and dragged one of the detail officers,” wrote police in a press release. “Officers pursued the stolen vehicle at a low rate of speed before the pursuit was called off for safety reasons.”

That’s when police say Gardell went through a McDonald’s drive-thru in an attempt to order food.

“Officers approached her in two vehicles. She intentionally struck one of the vehicles but went off the road and got her vehicle stuck in the mulch on McDonald’s property,” wrote police.

Police say they were able to pull Gardell out of the vehicle, though she fought and struggled.

She’s now facing several charges related to the incident, including failing to stop for police, traffic violations, leaving the scene of an accident, assault and battery with a vehicle, disorderly conduct, and use of a vehicle without authority.

The officer who was struck by the vehicle was injured and transported to an area hospital, but police say his injuries are not life-threatening.