By Shawn Beals
The Hartford Courant
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EAST WINDSOR, Conn. — A 68-year-old woman crashed a car into the front doors of the police department lobby Wednesday morning, then backed up and tried to hit an officer, striking the building a second time, police said.
The whole building shook from the first crash, which smashed the lobby doors, Chief Edward DeMarco Jr. said.
The driver fled the scene but was apprehended less than a mile away, DeMarco said. Police said it appeared she intentionally drove the Chrysler PT Cruiser at the station about 8 a.m.
Lillian Dunn of 24 Laurel Circle was charged in the incident. No injuries were reported.
DeMarco said Dunn drove into the rear parking lot of the building on School Street with a blanket over her head to conceal her identity. When she found nobody in the rear of the building, she "came around the front at a high rate of speed" and struck the building, DeMarco said.
When an officer went to investigate, Dunn backed up the car and tried to run the officer over, striking the building a second time, DeMarco said. When the officer tried to apprehend her, Dunn made an obscene hand gesture and drove away, DeMarco said. She was apprehended by a responding officer on Bridge Street and was "extremely volatile," DeMarco said.
"She's angry. We don't know exactly what she's angry about," Sgt. Kenith Smith said. "We have had contact with her the last few days. She called looking for help from social services."
Smith said the police department gave her a phone number to call to get the help she was seeking.
At Dunn's arraignment in Superior Court in Enfield Wednesday afternoon, Judge Howard Scheinblum ordered her taken by ambulance to the emergency room of Hartford Hospital for observation. Court officials said Dunn suffers from a mental disability that requires treatment.
"I have reason to believe that she is not competent at this point in time," Scheinblum said. "In my opinion she presents a danger not only to herself but to the public.''
"I disagree," Dunn shouted.
Dunn repeatedly interrupted Scheinblum, her public defender, the prosecutor and other court officials, occasionally shouting expletives. At one point Scheinblum warned Dunn that he would have her gagged if she wouldn't be quiet.
"Go ahead," Dunn replied. "Shove it."
Sandy Fissette, who lives across the street from the police station, said she was getting her granddaughter ready to get on the school bus about 8:20 a.m. when she saw the incident from her front porch. Fissette said the car caught her eye because of a folded blanket on the hood. Fissette said the car went behind the police department from School Street then came back around a few minutes later and headed toward the lobby entrance of the police station.
The driver then stopped the car, slowly lined it up with the entrance of the station and hit the gas, Fissette said. She said she lost sight of the car behind the building but heard a crash. Fissette said she saw the driver back up and then hit the gas again, and she heard another crash.
Dunn was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, first-degree criminal attempt to commit assault, third-degree criminal mischief, operating a vehicle with a suspended license, first-degree reckless endangerment, interfering with an officer and third-degree criminal mischief, according to police and court records. She also was charged with using a motor vehicle without the owner's permission, because the PT Cruiser is her roommate's, police said.
Courant Staff Writer Larry Smith contributed to this story.
Copyright 2007 Hartford Courant
68-year-old 'angry' Conn. driver rams car into police station