Man Who Killed Waltham Police Officer And National Grid Worker With Truck Was Previously Charged With Ramming Vehicle Into Public Transportation Bus While Fleeing Police

 

Last night a Waltham Police Officer and a National grid worker were killed by a man with a long history of mental health issues and car violence. Officer Paul Tracey, 58, and Roderick Jackson, 36 of Cambridge, were struck and killed by Peter Simon of Woodsville, New Hampshire, while working a detail in Waltham.

Simon struck a vehicle with his truck, then attempted to flea the scene by driving a quarter mile down the road where he struck Jackson, Tracey, and two other National Grid workers. He abandoned his truck, and when he was approached by a Waltham Police Officer he stole his cruiser at knifepoint before crashing it and being taken into custody.

Today Simon was arraigned in Waltham District Court, but was only charged with two counts of manslaughter and armed robbery.

There was talk of more charges, but none of them included murder. Apparently that only happens when a corrupt DA uses it as a tactic to get an innocent woman to plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Several Waltham Police Officers and National Grid employees packed the courtroom for the hearing – something that often happens when police realize that the right person is being charged with killing a cop.

Unfortunately this incident was tragically predictable, and is the direct result of the failure of our criminal justice system to imprison people who pose legitimate threats to our society. In 2011 Peter Simon was sentenced to five years in a New Hampshire mental hospital after he fled from police in his vehicle and crashed head on into a public transportation bus in Keene. He plead not guilty by reason of insanity, and was found to have dissociative disorder with a history of panic attacks.

“Simon led police on a wild chase south on Route 12, onto Route 9/101, into the Monadnock Marketplace and back onto Route 9/101, traveling west before colliding with the bus. Both Simon and the driver of the bus received minor injuries in the crash. A passenger in the bus sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.”

Simon said he was sorry and didn’t want it to happen again. The judge apparently bought it.

“He feels very badly about the injured person,” said Hulser. “He honestly and seriously does not want this to happen again. I believe him, the doctor believed him and the judge believed him.”

After five years a Judge would reevaluate whether or not it was safe to release Simon into civilized society:

“Because he was sentenced to a psychiatric facility, he is not eligible for time already served, said Heed. If he ends up serving the entire five years in state custody, he will be granted another hearing, at which time a judge will rule on whether he should be released or if he should remain in the hospital.”

Evidently the homeless vagrant convinced some hack judge that he was not a dangerous person, got out, and at some point ended up in Waltham.

Officer Tracey had the misfortune of crossing paths with this dangerous individual last night. Prior to that he had served honorably on the Waltham Police Department for 28 years, and has twice been recognized for his life saving efforts:

In 2018, while vacationing with family at Riviera Beach Resort in South Yarmouth, the off-duty officer saved the life of a drug overdose victim by administering CPR.

“He saved her life, no question,” said a Yarmouth Fire Department captain at the time.

Last November, Officer Tracey was one of several Waltham officers who responded to a tragic Brandeis bus crash that killed one undergraduate and injured dozens. 

He and his colleagues received Lifesaving Medals from the Massachusetts Police Association a few months ago.

He leaves behind a school resource officer wife and two children, as well as brothers and sisters who were in court today.

Officer Tracey was once on Family Feud where he won Fast Money with Steve Harvey. 

Roderick Jackson was a 6′ 6″ basketball player who starred at Cambridge Rindge and Latin before playing at Framingham State. In 2009 he was the team’s second leading scorer and rebounder, averaging more than 14 points per game.

Both men lost their lives on a normal Wednesday night when they thought they were just doing their routine jobs. Our criminal justice system failed them, as it has done to so many people before them. The system cracks down on innocent, nonviolent people by charging them with felonies, while letting dangerous, mentally unstable people like Peter Simon roam free.

 

 

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