By Dave Rogers
---- — NEWBURYPORT — A resident of a local alcohol and drug recovery home for men is being held without bail after police say he drove a stolen car on the wrong side of High Street while under the influence of drugs Tuesday afternoon, forcing several motorists off the road.
George J. Schindler, 41, who has lived at the John Ashford Link House on Washington Street since November, was already out on bail following his arrest last August for allegedly slugging an Amesbury police officer during a medical aid call at the Irving Gas Station on Route 110.
At his arraignment yesterday at Newburyport District Court, Schindler was ordered by Judge Allen Swan to remain in custody pending a pretrial hearing scheduled for Feb. 20.
According to Newburyport police, several motorists called the station around 3:40 p.m. on Tuesday reporting that someone was traveling east on the westbound side of High Street.
Off-duty police officer Eric Marshall said in his report that he had been following the suspect in his unmarked car after witnessing him driving erratically on Ferry Road and then blowing past a stop sign at the intersection of Ferry Road and High Street.
Marshall called the police station to notify them of his involvement and was told by a dispatcher that the car driven by the suspect was reported stolen out of Haverhill.
After watching Schindler nearly ram into several cars on High Street whose operators pulled over to avoid a collision, Marshall toggled his high-beam headlights on and off, which was enough to compel Schindler to pull over near the intersection of High and Green streets. Shortly after Marshall began speaking to the suspect, four on-duty police officers, including Charles Eaton, John Schmidt and Megan Muldowney, arrived to take over.
In his report, Eaton said Schindler appeared disoriented and under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. Schindler reportedly told police he was headed to an AA meeting at the time of his arrest.
Schindler later admitted he had taken a substance known as K2. While K2 is legal and is marketed as potpourri, it can produce hallucinating effects when smoked. Upon his arrest for driving under the influence of drugs, police searched the vehicle and found six tablets of the prescription pain killer gabapentin. A search of Schinder’s pockets and coat turned up the K2, Eaton added.
In addition to being charged with operating under the influence of drugs, Schindler is facing charges of receiving a stolen motor vehicle, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, marked lanes and failure to stop/yield.
Court documents show that Schindler was admitted to the John Ashford Link House on Nov. 20.