Woman hits multiple cops in wild police chase, gets arrested while ordering food at McDonald's drive-thru

The suspect has now been charged with more than a dozen violations.

July 7, 2021, 8:01 AM

A wild police chase of a woman in a stolen truck ended at a McDonald's drive-thru as she attempted to order some food amid the pursuit.

The incident occurred at approximately 8:45 a.m. local time on Tuesday in Worcester, Massachusetts -- about 42 miles west of Boston. The Worcester Police Department said it received a 911 call about a stolen pickup truck in the eastern part of the city.

When officers arrived on scene, they spoke with the man who made the call and he informed them that a woman, whom he said he did not know, climbed into his vehicle and drove away. But he told the officers that his pickup truck had GPS and he could see its location.

As the officers made their way to the area of the stolen vehicle, they were flagged down by another driver who told them that their car had been hit by the pickup truck only minutes before, according to police.

With that information plus tracking the vehicle by GPS, it didn't take long for officers to find the suspect -- identified as 38-year-old Johanna Gardell of Worcester -- in the stolen pickup truck only a few blocks away.

But the chase didn't end there.

"The officer activated his blue lights, got out of his cruiser, and approached the stolen vehicle," the Worcester Police Department said in a statement on Tuesday. "The operator … drove away as the officer walked toward her. The officer got back into his cruiser and followed her at a low rate of speed, but she did not stop. Ms. Gardell began to increase her speed on Main St and drove through red lights. The officer deactivated his lights and sirens and stopped following her for safety reasons."

Gardell then came upon heavy traffic before deciding to crossover into the wrong lane, as well as oncoming traffic, and subsequently ended up driving into a van with the stolen pickup truck, according to police.

"At this point, two officers working a detail and another officer in the area approached the vehicle in an attempt to extract Ms. Gardell," the Worcester Police Department said. "She backed up the vehicle at a high rate of speed and struck a cruiser behind her, and knocked down and dragged one of the detail officers. Officers pursued the stolen vehicle at a low rate of speed before the pursuit was called off for safety reasons."

Gardell then pulled into the drive-thru at a nearby McDonald's restaurant in an attempt to order food, but officers able to locate her again and attempted to arrest her, according to police.

Officers approached her in two vehicles but she intentionally struck one before veering off the road and getting the stolen pickup truck stuck in a pile of mulch that was on the McDonald's property, police said.

Officers were then able to pull Gardell out of the vehicle as she fought and struggled with them during the arrest, according to police.

Gardell is facing a litany of charges, including failure to stop for police, leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, malicious mischief to motor vehicle, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct and use of motor vehicle without authority, among several others.

The Worcester Police Department said that Gardell will now be arraigned in court and the investigation into the incident is ongoing.