Arraignment delayed for man accused of hitting, dragging state trooper on I-91

A traffic stop gone wrong on Friday turned into an hours-long manhunt after a state trooper was dragged by a car on I-91 north.
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 9:28 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2023 at 3:41 PM EDT
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(WGGB/WSHM) - A traffic stop gone wrong on Friday turned into an hours-long manhunt after a state trooper was dragged by a car on I-91 north. Western Mass News has learned the driver, who initially fled the scene in his car, then by foot, has a prosthetic leg and was supposed to be appear before a judge on Monday, but did not.

Michael J. Williams Jr., 45, was not arraigned Monday because he is still in the hospital after Friday’s incident and now, we’re learning he has a past criminal history involving assault and battery of police officers.

Investigators said that Williams tried to flee from a traffic stop at the rest stop along I-91 north in Holyoke on Friday. As he fled, investigators said Williams allegedly hit the trooper and dragged him along. Highway traffic cameras captured the moments after the trooper was able to free himself and was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Moments later, Williams crashed his car a short distance away and he fled on foot into the woods near I-91 and Route 5. A large manhunt ended with Williams captured less than three hours later. Mass. State Police Sgt. Jack Doherty and his K-9 partner Roxy were able to locate him in thick brush along Symansky Avenue in Easthampton.

Western Mass News has learned this is not the first time that Williams has faced arrest. We obtained court documents from previous cases against him in Northampton. In February 2012, he was arrested and charged with assault and battery on a police officer, then again, in November 2020, he faced the same charge. Just six months ago, in March 2023, Williams was charged with operating under the influence and it was during that traffic stop when a police officer detailed this information:

“I asked Williams if he had...injuries that affect his balance and he said he had a prosthetic right leg and arthritis in his left ankle.”

Following Friday’s incident, Williams now faces new charges including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, failure to stop for police, and resisting arrest.

Williams was supposed to be arraigned on Monday, but since he remained at a local hospital, the court hearing was put off until Tuesday.