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Cadillac driver held on $25,000 bail after chase, crash in Springfield

June 15, 2016

SPRINGFIELD – Two Springfield police officers narrowly avoided being crushed by a speeding Cadillac Saturday night before the driver tossed a .40-caliber firearm out the window, ran a red light and crashed into a fence, a prosecutor said Monday.

Angel Sierra, 23, of Springfield, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment in Springfield District Court to seven charges, including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, carrying a loaded, high-capacity firearm and discharging a firearm.

Assistant District Attorney Cary Szafranski said the charges stemmed from a ShotSpotter notification for gunshots around 10 p.m. on Pine Street. Moments after arriving, two police officers were nearly run down by a Cadillac traveling at high speed with its headlights off, the prosecutor said.

"The officers were forced to dive out of the way," said Szafranski, adding that two other officers chased the vehicle and saw the driver toss an item out the window before running a red light and crashing at the corner of Walnut Street and Pendelton Avenue.

Police found .40-caliber shell casings in Sierra's car and retrieved a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic handgun from the tree belt on Ashley Street, Szafranski said.

The gun, equipped with a 30-round clip, had its serial numbers scratched off, according to the prosecutor, who asked Judge William Boyle to set bail at $100,000.

Defense lawyer Matthew Fleischner opposed the request, and said his client's family could post no more than $4,000 to $5,000. Sierra has virtually no criminal record and works as a personal care attendant for his mother – a job involving "on-call, round-the-clock" care, the lawyer said.

The defendant's girlfriend, mother, sisters and other relatives came to court to support him, Fleischner said. "His family is shocked to find him involved in a case with allegations like these," the lawyer added.

Given his strong family ties, his obligations to his mother and his lack of a criminal record, Sierra poses no risk of flight and could be released with conditions that he stay at his mother's home and wear a GPS electronic monitoring bracelet, Fleischner said.

Boyle, noting that prosecutors were not seeking a dangerousness hearing, set bail at $25,000 and continued the case for a hearing on July 13.

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