Driver left license plate behind after hitting tree, leaving scene in Hadley

Thursday, February 16, 2017

HADLEY — Hadley police say a man crashed his blue Toyota Tacoma into a West Street tree earlier this month and left the scene.

How do they know?

The man left a piece of his bumper behind — with his license plate attached. It was at least his second accident of the day.

“It’s like robbing a bank and leaving your wallet on the teller window,” said Sgt. Ken Hartwright. This kind of thing happens more often than you’d think, he said. “I’ve been a cop for 30 years. I’ve seen that stuff before.”

Hartwright said the man called a tow truck driver at 4 a.m. Feb. 5 to come to Hadley Elementary School. When the tow-truck driver noticed the damage, he said he wouldn’t tow the pickup unless he first called police to the scene.

Hartwright said the man told the driver, “I don’t want the cops here.” And he drove away.

The tow-truck driver called police.

Hartwright said he didn’t know when the accident occurred, but said police found the bumper in question near a tree on 32 West St., less than a mile from the elementary school.

Hartwright said police have identified the driver but haven’t yet confronted him. When they do, he said, the man will likely be charged with leaving the scene of a property-damage accident, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and a marked lanes violation.