WALTHAM, MASS. (WHDH) - People living in Waltham described a chaotic scene Wednesday night as authorities rushed to respond to a multi-vehicle crash that left a police officer and a utility worker dead while injuring two other utility workers. 

As a 54-year-old New Hampshire man accused in connection with the crash appeared in court, documents on Thursday also revealed new details about the crash and a subsequent chase involving a stolen police cruiser.

“It was traumatizing,” area resident Johanna Rodriguez told 7NEWS. “I can’t get that scene out of my head.” 

Wednesday’s events happened around 4 p.m. beginning on Totten Pond Road in Waltham. There, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said, Peter Simon of Woodsville, New Hampshire allegedly first collided with another vehicle while trying to complete a U-turn. 

Ryan said Simon next drove further down Totten Pond Road, hitting a Waltham police officer and a National Grid worker at a roadside worksite. 

Ryan said Simon allegedly continued driving after he hit the officer and the utility worker before bailing out of his truck and fleeing on foot. 

While emergency crews soon swarmed the area, Rodriguez said she saw a body lying in the street. 

“That’s the one thing that I remember the most,” she said. 

Rodriguez said she arrived home 30 minutes before this incident and spoke with the National Grid workers, thanking them for their efforts amid cold temperatures. 

She said the impact of at least one of the crashes then shook her house. 

On Thursday, she said she will never forget what she saw and heard, recalling hearing a deafening scream from the National Grid workers. 

DA Ryan on Wednesday identified the fallen officer as Paul Tracey, 58. Authorities later identified the National Grid worker who was killed as Roderick Jackson. 

On the same day Simon appeared in court in connection with the crash, Jackson’s mother on Thursday morning came to the spot where her son lost his life.

“We just hugged,” Rodriguez said. “She didn’t tell me she was his mother. I just knew.” 

“She knew that I saw her sont,” she continued.

Jackson’s mother told Rodriguez her son was loved and did a lot for children in the community. 

Rodriguez said they both prayed together. 

“His mother told me ‘I’ll be back mom, I’ll see you later,’” Rodriguez said. “And then he never went home,” she said.

Police report sheds light on cruiser theft, pursuit

Simon was charged with charges including two counts of manslaughter. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf and he was ordered held without bail ahead of a dangerousness hearing. 

Before his court appearance, neighbors said they immediately knew something had gone terribly wrong Wednesday afternoon.

“There was just this one big bang and the house shook,” one woman said.

After the initial series of crashes on Totten Pond Road, a police report said Simon ran through a wooded area to the upscale hilltop neighborhood of Lura Lane.

According to the police report, a man living in one area home called 911 to say somebody was trying to break into his house. The report said officers arrived and found the suspect sitting on the front steps. 

The report indicated the man may have said “police are going to kill me” as an officer approached.

The officer reportedly asked “if he had just been in an accident.” The report said Simon also approached the officer, who had pulled out his baton. 

The report continued, saying Simon pulled a knife and began walking toward the officer before stealing his police cruiser and speeding off as the officer dropped his baton and backed away while trying to get to his gun. 

From there, the report alleged Simon went back toward Totten Pond Road, hitting at least two police cruisers and swerving toward two other unmarked cars.

Police said Simon soon took their cruiser down nearby Winter Street where he crashed into another vehicle at a dead end. 

Simon was taken into custody after the final crash. 

The owner of the truck that was damaged on Winter Street, meanwhile, said he had been blowing leaves and was nearly killed at the moment of impact. 

The owner continued, saying he is wondering how he will pay for his damaged truck, which was pushed into his driveway in this final crash.


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