NEW BRITAIN - A Meriden man was held on $250,000 bond after his arraignment Thursday on charges he nearly hit construction workers while leading state police on a high-speed chase into New Britain early that morning.
William Herschler, 27, of 38 North First St., passed a state trooper on Interstate 91 in Hartford at 2 a.m. going about 80 mph, state police said.
When the trooper turned on his lights and siren, Herschler sped up hitting speeds of 100 mph, the trooper said. The trooper then broke off the chase as the van Herschler was driving was headed for a one-lane construction zone.
He nearly struck two construction workers and maneuvered out of the area around the trooper’s cruiser as the officer was trying to block him from continuing.
At that point troopers learned the van Herschler was driving was reported stolen.
The tan van got off I-91 at Route 9, again reaching speeds of 100 mph, and then exited the highway in Kensington and continued on to New Britain. By that point the van had a flat tire and was traveling on the rim, police said.
As the van turned onto Steele Street in New Britain it “made contact” with a state police cruiser and stopped. The driver jumped out and fled into the woods.
He was found a short while later outside the house at the corner of Route 372 and Steele Street. Herschler initially told troopers he had been sleeping under a bush for hours and didn’t know anything about a stolen car. He also gave police a fake name, urinated in the processing cell and unplugged a trooper’s computer as he was being booked.
He was charged with nearly a dozen offenses including first-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree larceny, criminal impersonation, interfering with police and computer crime.
“The allegations indicate there is a risk to the public,” New Britain Superior Court Judge Joan Alexander said during Herschler’s arraignment Thursday. “Construction workers had to jump out of the way for their safety.”
Herschler has a lengthy criminal history, is on probation, and has four pending arrest cases out of Meriden Superior Court, officials said.
“He wants the court to know he is apologetic for his actions,” his public defender, David Cosgrove, said. “He also wants to point out he did not strike the cruiser, the cruiser struck his car, and that the car was given to him, he did not steal it.”
“For public safety reasons,” Alexander held Herschler on $250,000 bond and ordered him to be on electronic monitoring if he was released.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.