Driver with missing tire facing charges after eluding police

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – A 24-year-old Lincoln woman has been charged with reckless driving, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct after allegedly speeding along Route 146 with a missing tire and fleeing from officers.

Celina Lopez, 24, of Lincoln, was charged on Saturday, June 6 after an officer reportedly pulled his gun to ensure her vehicle came to a stop.

The incident in North Smithfield began around 4 p.m. when police from Uxbridge, Mass. called the department to say sparks were trailing a car crossing the state border. Uxbridge police later said they received several calls reporting the vehicle traveling without a front right tire, and they tried to stop the car, but Lopez drove away, at times operating at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.

Patrol officer Nicholas Tomasetti reportedly spotted the vehicle, a 2013 Acura, swerving through traffic and passing another motorist via the breakdown lane on 146 South.

According to Tomasetti, Lopez was traveling the speed limit at the time, but sparks were flying from the vehicle due to the missing tire.

Lopez pulled off the highway at the Greenville Road exit, “at the last second,” according to Tomasetti. The officer states that he pulled beside the vehicle and asked the driver to exit, but the car began to roll slowly.

“At this time I removed my firearm from its holster and positioned myself out of the way in case she were to accelerate,” the arrest report notes.

According to the report, the officer approached the vehicle, opened the door and requested that the driver step out. When Lopez didn’t get out, Tomasetti, “grabbed her arm and attempted to guide her out of the vehicle,” eventually, “grabbing her with both hands and pulling her to the ground.” Lopez reportedly flailed to avoid being handcuffed, but was eventually placed in the cruiser.

Lopez told police that she could not breathe and that she suffers from anxiety. Tomasetti had the suspect evaluated by personnel from the North Smithfield Fire Department, ultimately releasing her with a summons rather than placing her under arrest.

Lopez is scheduled for a mandatory 3rd District court hearing on Tuesday, July 27.

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