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By KAREN JEFFREY
STAFF WRITER
HYANNIS - A 45-year-old man stole and crashed an unmarked police cruiser during a high-speed chase along Route 132 early yesterday morning.

Protocol

Because shots were fired, the Barnstable police instituted a protocol that includes locating and photographing shells from the officer's weapon.
Officer Colin Kelley will be required to fill out a report that includes information about why and where he fired.
In the initial incident report Kelley said he fired because he feared for his life.
He said that when he fired, his back was to the motel and he was facing the cruiser, which had a patch of woods and a small pond behind it. He said no civilians, other than Nikas, were in the area when he fired the gun.


One officer was injured but managed to fire two rounds at the cruiser after being struck and knocked aside at the start of the chase.
The rounds hit the driver's door but did not injure John E. Nikas, the man the police say stole the cruiser.
Nikas is now in Cape Cod Hospital, where he is being treated for a dog bite, injuries received during the car crash and aggravation of a pre-existing back condition, according to Sgt. Sean Sweeney.
Officer Colin Kelley, who was struck by the cruiser and who fired the shots, was treated at the hospital and released.
Nikas remains in stable condition at the hospital, where it is expected he will be arraigned on 17 charges arising out of the incident.
Among those charges: assault and battery on a police officer, attempted murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and car theft.
Yesterday's wild chase began with an incident unrelated to Nikas, according to Sweeney.
Around 2 a.m. the Barnstable police received a call from a relative of a woman registered at Days Inn on Route 132 in Hyannis. Concerned that the woman was suicidal, the relative asked the police to check on her. Although the police determined the woman was fine, they asked her about Nikas after noticing men's clothing on a bed and a bottle with a drug prescription in his name on a table. Cohasset police had issued a warrant for him earlier this month.
The woman said Nikas occasionally stopped by, but was not staying there. After one of the officers asked about a ceiling tile that was askew, the woman invited them to search the room. They did, finding a meat cleaver stored on the ceiling tile.
Waiting and watching
The police decided to remain in the area, keeping an eye out for Nikas. It was about 3 a.m. when Kelley encountered him in the parking lot.
According to Sweeney, "Kelley got out of his cruiser and asked Nikas to stop." A fight began when Kelley started to handcuff Nikas, he said.
The struggle continued as the men fell to the ground, with Nikas hitting Kelley with the loose handcuff and Kelley striking back with a baton.
Kelley radioed for help as they struggled to their feet, still fighting. That's when Kelley pulled his gun, according to Sweeney. In a police report, Kelley wrote that he pulled his weapon in "fear I was losing the fight."
Despite this, Nikas jumped into the driver's seat of Kelley's unmarked cruiser.
Cruisers are equipped with kill switches designed to prevent anyone but an officer from engaging the car, Sweeney said. Nikas revved the engine repeatedly and the car moved nowhere for a few seconds, but then the cruiser suddenly lurched into reverse, striking Kelley and knocking him to the side, Sweeney said.
Kelley fired two shots as the car sped forward, going around the side of the motel and out through the back, where approaching cruisers began the pursuit. The police followed Nikas as he bumped over curbs heading to Enterprise Road, where he suddenly braked, spun the car around and headed at a cruiser driven by Officer James Melia.
Melia turned to avoid a head-on collision, but Nikas struck the marked cruiser on the driver's side panel before bouncing over a curb and speeding toward Route 132, according to Sweeney.
Speed estimated at 100 mph
The police estimate Nikas reached a speed of at least 100 mph as he sped past cruisers approaching the chase from the Cape Cod Mall parking lot.
Nikas drove across Airport Rotary and onto the road, apparently losing control on Barnstable Road, where the car crashed into a utility pole. Officers saw Nikas run from the car, heading toward Trans-Atlantic Motors, Sweeney said.
Nikas was brought to the ground when Barnstable Canine Officer Sean Roycroft released his dog Cole, according to Sweeney.
Cole "took him down by the right arm. Nikas landed face first in the gravel," Sweeney said. An ambulance was called when Nikas complained the fall had reinjured his back.
Although increasingly familiar to Cape police as a result of recent arrests, the bulk of Nikas's criminal career has taken place in Cambridge, Chelsea, Somerville and other communities on the outskirts of Boston.
His criminal record includes numerous convictions for crimes of violence and gun possession beginning in 1975. He has spent more than 20 years in prison, including 15 years for a 1983 manslaughter conviction.
 
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