SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 25, 2012

School on lockdown as police nab fugitive

DANVERS — Essex Agricultural and Technical High School was on lockdown for nearly two hours yesterday afternoon as police chased a fugitive through the woods near the school.

Eventually, Jonathan Benoit, 24, of 22 School St. Wilmington, was arrested after a brief struggle with police and charged with being a fugitive from justice, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Benoit is wanted in Saugus on a 2011 warrant for possession of a class A drug and is wanted in New Hampshire on several other of warrants, said Capt. Patrick Ambrose of the Danvers Police Department. Most recently, Benoit is alleged to have injured a Salem, N.H., police officer on May 19 when the officer was nearly hit by a car Benoit drove as he was fleeing police.

Just after 2 p.m. yesterday, police received a tip that Benoit was staying at the CAB Health & Recovery Detox Center in Danvers. Before police could make the arrest, Benoit fled through one of the doors and ran into the woods near Essex Aggie, Ambrose said.

Officers and K-9 units from the Essex Sheriff's Department were called in, as was a state police helicopter, said Danvers police Chief Neil Ouellette.

Police began searching the area by foot and set up a perimeter.

"It's a heavily overgrown and swampy area," Ambrose said.

As police and dogs started closing in on Benoit, he took off running again through the Essex Aggie campus out to Route 62.

"I guess he thought it was his time to make a break for it, but we ran after him and took him down," Ambrose said.

The scene was cleared at 4:15 p.m. No one was injured.

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