Worcester stolen truck driver arrested after ordering McNuggets

WORCESTER, Mass. — A woman who allegedly stole a pickup truck, rammed a police cruiser and dragged an officer was arrested after placing an order at a Worcester McDonald’s drive-thru.

Now, 38-year-old Johanna Gardell is expected to be arraigned in Worcester District Court in connection with the dangerous and destructive drive that lasted for nearly two hours.

Police said Gardell stole a pickup truck, belonging to Raymond James Restoration, from a job site on Tuesday morning. Workers were in the process of unloading materials when they realized the truck had vanished.

“They went back to the truck to get the tools, and the whole truck was gone,” said Raymond James Simoncini, owner of Raymond James Restoration.

Simoncini said all of his trucks are equipped with GPS. He was able to track the suspect’s whereabouts to relay her location to police.

“She went from Worcester to Grafton to Shrewsbury then back to Worcester,” Simoncini said. “Without the GPS, it would’ve been hard to track her down.”

Police said Gardell refused to stop for officers and shifted into reverse at one point, striking a police cruiser and dragging a detail officer 20 feet.

According to police, the suspect finally decided to stop to place an order at McDonald’s drive-thru on Shrewsbury Street.

“She did go through the drive-thru and ordered some chicken nuggets,” Simoncini said. “She said, ‘officer, this is my truck.’ They said, ‘ma’am, the owner is right here, and it says Raymond James Restoration on the side!’”

Simoncini said the tools that had been inside the truck were gone. He believes the vehicle is a complete loss because it’s so badly banged up. The officer who was dragged during the ordeal has already been treated and released from the hospital.

Gardell is charged with failure to stop for police, operating to endanger, a red light violation, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon (motor vehicle), assault by means of a dangerous weapon (motor vehicle), malicious mischief to a motor vehicle, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, operating a motor vehicle after suspension (driver’s license) and use of a motor vehicle without authority.