Dirt Bikers Assault: How to stay safe in a dangerous situation | News


SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — The brutal beating of a motorist by a group of dirt bikers Monday night in Springfield remains under investigation,  but also has many people talking.

A Western Mass News Viewer reached out to us asking what someone should do if they found themselves in a similar situation. 

So we took that question to police and a criminal defense attorney to get answers on how to defend yourself and what rights you have. 

He says it’s not unrealistic to think this could happen to you…after Monday night’s incident.

Concerns about personal safety are being raised after a motorist was critically injured Monday night when he was assaulted by a group of dirt bikers near the ‘X’ in Springfield Monday night.

Ryan Walsh, public information officer for the Springfield Police Department, says if you find yourself in a dangerous situation like this stay put and call for help.

“We don’t want you to get out of your car get involved just called the police to handle it because when they’re in a group like that, terrible things can happen very quickly,” Walsh notes. 

Western Mass News also took questions to Joseph Pacella, a criminal defense lawyer, to ask what someone should do while waiting for help to arrive.

He says Massachusetts is a ‘Duty to Retreat’ state, meaning you are obligated to leave the scene the first chance you get. But he points out it is within someone’s rights to wield a dangerous weapon.

“People have a right to carry a weapon, it could be pepper spray, it could be a taser – there’s various weapons out there that people are going to use to protect themselves and they might be able to do it before even the aggression occurs if they think they’re being surrounded,” says Pacella. 

And he adds in a situation like this, extreme action to get away could be justified.

“It’s not unreasonable in my mind for a person to drive through some of those people to get out of there and get themselves safe,” Pacella explains. 

Something that he says is risky and may carry criminal charges, but he emphasizes your safety is your top priority.

“You’re gonna turn around and get charged with vehicle Manslaughter if you kill someone, if you hurt someone you might be charged with Assault and Battery With a Dangerous Weapon but I would certainly be telling my son or daughter to protect themselves,” notes Pacella. 

While every case is different, he says it’s important to know self-defense rights increase as the situation escalates.

“So if these bikers are already attacking you – have their helmets off, they’re wielding them as dangerous weapons. That’s going to up the level of the kind of force you can use to get out of the situation,” adds Pacella. 

He tells Western Mass News, he would hope that police and the courts reexamine extreme acts of self-defense following Monday night’s incident.

“I would hope that our district attorney and our law enforcement officers would take a hard look at whether or not they want to charge someone who tries to protect themselves like that after something so horrible has happened,” says Pacella. 

Springfield police tell Western Mass News their investigation into Monday night’s attack is ongoing – they have nothing new to share at this time.

We’ll keep you updated.  

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