A mugshot of John Kellum

Courtesy of Melrose Police

Police have arrested a 42-year-old man for his fifth drunken driving offense after he rammed a police cruiser and drove his pick-up truck into the frigid Malden River early Sunday.

Police allege that Melrose resident John Kellum crashed into two parked vehicles on SpearStreet and rammed a Melrose police car before fleeing around 1:30 a.m. Police followed at a safe distance, according to a statement from the Melrose Police Department.

Kellum then drove at another police cruiser, which swerved to avoid a crash and in doing so struck a curb, causing a tire to separate from the wheel. There were no injuries in any of the crashes.

The chase resulted in more than one flat tire on Kellum’s truck. He continued to drive on the rims, police said, until he drove into the Malden River in Malden.


He then left his truck and waded into waist deep water, before swimming away from firefighters who were trying to get him out of the river. He taunted them before he was pulled from the water and taken to a local hospital.

Kellum, according to Melrose Police, is “known to police” and does not have a valid driver’s license. He faces multiple charges, including:

-Operating under the Influence of Alcohol (5th Offense)

-Operating a motor vehicle with a revoked license

-Operating to endanger

-Failure to stop for police

-Multiple counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (vehicle)

-Leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident.

Melrose Police Chief Michael L. Lyle said through a statement, “This was an extremely dangerous situation, in which a habitual offender with no valid driver’s license allegedly…tried to run down police officers while he was under the influence of alcohol. I am proud of the way my officers handled themselves, putting the safety of innocent residents above their own.”

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