Melrose Police Chief Jennifer Dreiling was cited for an improper turn that caused a minor crash Wednesday, state police said.
Dreiling crashed around noon during a traffic stop on U.S. 60/84 across from a convenience store in the village, police said.
State Police Commander Jimmy Glascock said it happened like this:
Dreiling stopped an eastbound vehicle for a traffic violation. Dreiling returned to her vehicle to write up a citation when the motorist got out of his vehicle and told her he had to use the bathroom.
Dreiling told the man to return to his vehicle and wait for her. The motorist instead drove across the highway to the convenience store.
Dreiling’s vehicle struck the rear bumper of another vehicle in the eastbound lane as she turned into the highway to follow the man.
“She was following him. It was an unexpected action from the motorist,” Glascock said. “It sounds like it happened very quickly.”
While the action Dreiling took by following the man is understandable, Glascock said officers still have a responsibility to exercise due care in their actions.
The driver of the vehicle Dreiling struck was cited for driving without a license.
The original driver, who had been stopped stayed on scene, received the citation he was stopped for, Glascock said.
Dreiling was uninjured and has returned to duty, Melrose Mayor Lance Pyle said.