Man Flees Middlebury Police, Crashes on Rt 8

After getting stuck during a burglary, suspect attempts to outrun police before crashing driving the wrong way on Route 8.


Middlebury Police were dispatched to an alarm at 192 Regan Road at approximately 11:40 a.m. on Jan. 7. Police responded and Officer Al Cronin encountered a red Mazda pick-up truck stuck in the driveway and also noticed that the front door of the residence was kicked in.

Officer Cronin went to the truck and ordered the subject, later identified as 42-year-old Eric Nienstadt, to get out of the vehicle. The driver ignored Cronin, locked the doors of the truck and kept rocking the truck back and forth. The truck became unstuck and he came at Officer Cronin, who had to run out of the way or be hit, according to police.

Nienstadt allegedly fled with police in pursuit, driving into Naugatuck, with Naugatuck Police assisting. He then reportedly turned around and came back into Middlebury up Route 63, continuing into Waterbury.

Nienstadt then began driving on the highway the wrong way, police said. Police did not pursue and attempted to figure where he would depart the highway. Connecticut State Police Troop A, Southbury and Waterbury Police assisted.

Nienstadt crashed on Route 8 going northbound in the southbound lane, according to police. He jumped from the vehicle and ran into the Brooklyn section of Waterbury. Officers chased him catching him finally on John Street near Congress Avenue in Waterbury.

Nienstadt, whose last known addresses were at 7 New St. in Danbury and on 47 Irion St. in Waterbury, faces multiple charges including: criminal attempt at first-degree assault; third-degree burglary; third-degree larceny; three counts of first-degree reckless endangerment; second-degree criminal mischief; four counts of third-degree criminal mischief; and three counts of disobeying the direction of an officer.

Police are working with neighboring police departments to see if there are connections to several similar burglaries in the area.

In addition to Middlebury charges, Nienstadt faces four violation of probation warrants that will also be served on Nienstadt out of the Danbury Court by Middlebury police, with bonds of $50,000.00 each totaling $200,000.

Catherine Gay January 08, 2013 at 03:40 PM
thank you for this article - i was watching for it on the news but didnt hear a thing - you do a great job of keeping Middlebury & surrounding towns up to date on whats going on
Sean M January 08, 2013 at 05:19 PM
I drove right by this on Route 63 during the chase. This idiot was attempting to cut into the opposite lane and could have killed someone. He needs to go to jail for a long time. From what I saw, the police did a spectacular job in a very dangerous situation.
Voice of Reason January 08, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Indeed, looks like the police did an excellent job. Now if the Judge/Court only does as well, I have my doubts. First-Degree Assault charge carries up to 20 years in prison but he'll probably be back behind the wheel in well less than a year. This is just one of the major problems society faces when contemplating reducing violent crime. :(
Richard Fohrenbach January 13, 2013 at 07:40 PM
I'm usually all for reduced criminal sentences -- I'm fairly young and fairly liberal. But we need to throw the book at this guy. There are mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. Shouldn't there be mandatory minimums for driving the wrong way on a highway for any more than a few seconds‽


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