Two crashes, high-speed pursuit lead to arrest

Tire tracks lead off Middle Road in West Tisbury where a vehicle crashed early Tuesday morning. Police say the vehicle involved in the crash was stolen in Aquinnah. -Eunki Seonwoo

Jackson Wojnowski, 20, is being charged with a litany of motor vehicle charges after leading police on a pursuit that started in Aquinnah, went through Chilmark, and ended in a crash at the intersection of Middle Road and Music Street in West Tisbury early Tuesday morning, according to police.

Wojnowski allegedly left the scene of the crash and was found at 2:30 am on Old County Road, where he was taken into custody by Sgt. Garrison Vieira, West Tisbury Chief Matt Mincone told The Times.

Wojnowski is being charged by West Tisbury Police with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, failure to stop at a stop sign, possession of stolen property, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and speeding, Mincone said. He is also being charged by Aquinnah Police with breaking and entering at night with intent to commit a felony, larceny from a building, larceny of a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and failing to stop for police.

The pursuit started after Wojnowski allegedly broke into a house in Aquinnah on How Was We Way and stole a Ford Crown Victoria parked outside.

According to a Aquinnah Police report, a break-in was reported by the residents of the How Was We Way home at about 1:25 am Tuesday. As Aquinnah Officer Steven Mathias approached Lobsterville Road via State Road, he observed a vehicle traveling in the other direction with no lights on. As Mathias got closer, he could see it was the Crown Victoria reported stolen, and pursued the vehicle with lights activated. At that point “the vehicle immediately accelerated in an attempt to evade me,” Mathias wrote.

According to the report, the vehicle continued onto Moshup Trail and nearly struck a traffic island. “As the vehicle continued traveling on Moshup Trail, its speed increased significantly, and I estimated it at over 80 mph,” Mathias wrote. The Aquinnah officer backed off, and Chilmark Police were alerted, the report states. A Chilmark officer began pursuit at an area known as the overlook, the report states, but also backed off because of excessive speeds.

Mathias wrote that on State Road between the overlook and the Aquinnah town line, he “observed debris along the roadway” consistent with a “substantial crash.” 

A gray Infiniti QX4, which had been dropped off at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School on Monday night for minor repairs, was found crashed on Lobsterville Road. 

Mathias returned to the How Was We Way home, where he spoke with a witness who reported being woken up hearing voices in his kitchen. The witness told police the intruder fled the house and drove off in the Ford Crown Victoria. The keys were under the seat in the car, according to the report.

While Mathias was waiting for a tow truck for the Infiniti, he heard on the radio that Sgt. Vieira of the West Tisbury Police Department had Wojnowski in custody. Police recovered a wallet and checkbook taken from the Aquinnah house, according to the police report. 

“Wojnowski also stated to Sgt. Vieira that people leave their keys in vehicles for him to take,” the Aquinnah Police report states.

The Oak Bluffs owner of the Infiniti was notified that his vehicle was involved in a crash, and was advised to contact his insurance company.


  1. Great that the police cut off the chase due to unsafe conditions and radioed ahead .
    Nobody was hurt, and the thief was caught. I am often impressed with the professionalism and common sense of our police departments.
    But let me point out something in the article;

    “Wojnowski also stated to Sgt. Vieira that people leave their keys in vehicles for him to take,”

    I wonder if he thinks that people who eave their cars running in parking lots are being nice to him and giving him their car. Some other idiots might think that also.
    Insurance companies, by the way, will not cover damages to your stolen vehicle if you leave the keys in the ignition.
    One more reason to turn your car off when you are not in it.

    • Nothing mentioned about running vehicles in the article. Many people leave keys in unlocked cars on their private property.

      • Alex– you are correct, but the best way to inform a car thief that the keys are in it , is to leave it running.

Comments are closed.