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Hamden police chase leads to officer firing gun at suspect

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HAMDEN–Police are investigating after a suspect car refused to stop, led officers on a chase, and then crashed.

Around 6 p.m. Monday, Hamden Police received a complaint of an erratic driver on Whitney Avenue and Lincoln Street. Moments later, a police officer observed the vehicle driving erratically on Dixwell Avenue and initiated a motor vehicle stop.

Upon approaching the vehicle, the driver, Israel Santiago, fled the scene, proceeding southbound onto Whitney Avenue, in an effort to elude officers. The fleeing vehicle entered the exit ramp at exit 61, traveling the wrong way. The vehicle subsequently collided with a Hamden Police vehicle, on the grass area between the entrance and exit ramps. Santiago then attempted to strike the officer with his car. The officer discharged his firearm at the vehicle.

Seconds later, Santiago continued to flee in his vehicle, northbound on Route 15. He struck a police vehicle. Santiago’s vehicle became disabled, at which time he fled on foot towards the Mill River, where he was taken into custody. A search of Santiago and his vehicle led to the discovery of crack cocaine.

Further investigation revealed that Santiago’s passenger made several requests and attempts to exit the vehicle. Santiago refused to release the passenger.

Hamden Police arrested Israel Santiago, 31, of East Haven. He was charged with unlawful restraint, possession of narcotics, possession on narcotics with the intent to sell, engaging an officer in pursuit, reckless driving and interfering with a police officer. Santiago, who was detained on a $100,000 bond, is scheduled to appear in court in Meriden on Sept. 21.

State Police is helping investigate the officer’s use of his weapon, at the request of the New Haven state’s attorney.