On May 17, 2017 at approximately 11:00 p.m., several officers were directing traffic on Route 88 southbound near the intersection of Briggs Road due to a motor vehicle crash. The road was temporarily closed while tow trucks were removing the damaged vehicle.

Cars began to stop, when one stopped motorist exited his vehicle and approached one of the police officers on foot. The driver of that vehicle, later identified as 21-year-old Jeremy Rioux of 17 President Street in Westport, became irate that he could not pass through the area. Officer Nick Frustaci instructed him to return to his vehicle and leave the highway. Rioux then yelled profanities and displayed a fighting position against the officer.

A second officer, Sergeant Chris Mello, approached Officer Frustaci and attempted to de-escalate Rioux’s behavior, and demanded that he immediately get back in his vehicle and off the road. Rioux then punched Sgt. Mello with his closed fist and struck him on the side of his face and jaw. The officers grabbed the man and restrained him as he continued fighting. Two other officers came to assist in handcuffing the man as Rioux resorted to biting Sgt. Mello on his hand, which punctured the skin and caused a laceration. Officers continued giving him verbal commands to stop, and he was eventually restrained and taken to the ground where he was handcuffed.

Rioux was arrested and charged with Disorderly Conduct, Assault and Battery on a Police Officer and Resisting Arrest. During the booking process at the police station Rioux flagrantly stated “(expletive) happens."

The officer was treated at a nearby hospital and released.

“Route 88 is mostly an un-lit highway with traffic that may reach high speeds," Westport Detective Jeff Majewski said. "Mr. Rioux made a potentially dangerous situation worse by exiting his car. Officers diverted their attention away from scene safety to deal with his behavior which ultimately placed others in harms way.”

Rioux was arraigned today at the Fall River Justice Center.

--Westport Police Department