December 3, 2013

Mass. dispatcher failed to send police to motel where housekeeper was killed

The driver of the pickup pleads not guilty to charges including leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

The Associated Press

WRENTHAM, Mass. — A Wrentham police dispatcher failed to send a cruiser to check out a complaint from a motel manager about a customer refusing to pay a bill just minutes before a housekeeper was dragged by a pickup truck three miles to her death, allegedly by the same guest, police announced Tuesday.

click image to enlarge

Police guard a white pickup truck Nov. 18. Moses Alcoque was arraigned Tuesday in district court in Wrentham, Mass., on charges he struck Kanchanben Patel with his pickup truck outside a Wrentham motel and dragged her body three miles up Route 1 to Foxborough.

AP Photo/The Sun Chronicle, Mark Stockwell

click image to enlarge

Moses Acloque, right, of Norwood, Mass., stands during arraignment as his lawyer Rudolph Miller speaks Tuesday in district court in Wrentham, Mass.

AP Photo/The Sun Chronicle, Mark Stockwell, Pool

An internal investigation showed that the first call about trouble at the Arbor Inn on Route 1 on the night of Nov. 18 came in on the department's business line, not via 911, Lt. William McGrath said

The dispatcher, who was dealing with another medical emergency at about the same time, said she would send a cruiser, but never did, he said.

"The dispatcher informed the caller she would send a cruiser to handle this call. However, our investigation confirmed she did not send the cruiser. At the time of this initial call, there was no indication of anyone being in danger or potential danger," McGrath said.

He called the failure to send a cruiser an "unfortunate oversight."

The first 911 call about a woman being dragged came in eight minutes later.

Kanchanben Patel, 58, who had recently become a U.S. citizen, was dragged about three miles on Route 1 north. Her body was found in the parking lot of a restaurant in Foxborough, just south of the Patriot Place shopping center and Gillette Stadium.

The police investigation concluded that there is no way to tell if sending a police cruiser after the initial non-911 call would have saved Patel's life.

The dispatcher, a 15-year veteran, has been placed on administrative leave pending a review and could face disciplinary action, McGrath said. He did not release her name.

The driver of the pickup, Moses Acloque, 22, of Norwood has pleaded not guilty to charges including leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He posted $3,000 bail, was ordered to wear a GPS monitoring device, to stay away from the motel and any witnesses in the case.

His defense attorney has said Acloque was not staying illegally at the Arbor Inn, but was visiting friends at the motel to watch a Patriots game. He fled in fear when hotel employees assaulted him, attorney Rudy Miller said, and had no idea he was dragging someone.

Patel and her husband were both hit by Acloque, prosecutors said, but her husband sustained minor injuries.

Acloque is due back in court Dec. 19.

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