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Superintendent Colonel Melissa Zebley
Bear- Delaware State Police arrested John Collins, 30, of Perryville, MD, for the attempted murder of three state troopers after an incident Monday morning.
On November 29, 2021, at approximately 2:44 a.m., troopers responded to an alarm at Hertrich Collision Center located at 100 Buckley Boulevard, Bear. The reporting person for the business advised a subject operating a rollback tow truck entered the parking lot and was going through vehicles. The responding trooper canvassed the area and located the suspect vehicle in the Brandywine Woods development. The trooper attempted to make contact with the suspect at a dead end in the development. The suspect then drove the tow truck directly towards the state police vehicle and struck it head on causing disabling damage. The seven-year veteran trooper injured from the collision was treated and released from an area hospital.
The tow truck then exited the development and began travelling west bound on Pulaski Highway. A responding trooper observed the suspect vehicle and a pursuit ensued. During the pursuit, a trooper who was stationed in the median strip was intentionally struck by the suspect who drove the tow truck into side of the marked State Police Tahoe, disabling it.
Following the collision, the suspect fled westbound in the eastbound lane of Pulaski Highway until it turned into Elizabeth Plaza Shopping Center located at 1410 Pulaski Highway. The vehicle traveled to the rear of the shopping center parking lot and stopped. A third state police vehicle occupied by two troopers, one being a recruit trooper, located the tow truck and initiated a traffic stop. As the two troopers exited their patrol car, the suspect accelerated the tow truck in reverse striking the fully marked State Police Tahoe. The recruit trooper who was trying to exit the vehicle on the driver side was thrown from the vehicle. The tow truck then started to accelerate forward when the 10-year veteran trooper fired rounds from his divisional issued handgun at the defendant and into the vehicle. The tow truck travelled to the front of the shopping center where it crashed and became disabled. The operator of the tow truck identified as John Collins and front passenger identified as Gabrielle Santucci attempted to flee on foot but were taken into custody. The recruit trooper injured from the collision was treated and released from an area hospital.
The tow truck involved in the incident was reported stolen out of York, PA.
Collins and Santucci were transported back to Troop 2 where they were charged with the following crimes:
Collins was arraigned in the Justice of the Peace Court #2 and committed to Howard R. Young Correctional Institution on a $3,088,000.00 cash bond.
Santucci was arraigned in the Justice of the Peace Court #2 and committed to Delores J. Baylor Correctional Institution on a $2,500.00 secured bond.
If you or someone you know is a victim or witness of crime or have lost a loved one to a sudden death and are in need of assistance, the Delaware State Police Victim Services Unit/Delaware Victim Center is available to offer you support and resources 24 hours a day through a toll free hotline 1800 VICTIM-1. (1-800-842-8461). You may also email the unit Director at email@example.com.
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Presented by Public Information Officer, Senior Corporal Jason Hatchell
Released: 113021 1027