NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

July 4, 2013

chase leads to heroin arrests

By Dave Rogers
Staff Writer

---- — SALISBURY — A Seabrook motorist and his Salisbury passenger were charged with pushing heroin and drug-related offenses following their arrest Tuesday afternoon after a high-speed chase through multiple side streets.

Richard Willis, 29, of 60A Wortherly Ave., Seabrook; and Dean K. Cowhig, 53, 12 Baker Road, Salisbury, were arraigned yesterday at Newburyport District Court and are being held on bail, $1,000 and $500 respectively, pending pretrial hearings scheduled for July 30.

In addition to a possession of heroin with intent to distribute charge, Willis was charged with failure to stop for police, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license (subsequent offense), two previous motor vehicle-related warrants, failure to meet minimum in-state requirements, possession of a class E substance (prescription pills) and heroin possession.

Cowhig was also charged with heroin possession to distribute, two previous warrants, heroin possession, possession of a class E substance (prescription pills) and carrying a dangerous weapon. Police confiscated two knives and a baseball bat from Cowhig, according to court records.

According to the report of Salisbury police officer Richard Dellaria, while traveling westbound on Elm Street (Route 110) around 2:10 p.m. Tuesday, he noticed a blue Chrysler Sebring with an expired New Hampshire inspection sticker traveling in the opposite direction. After turning around and activating his blue lights, Dellaria heard the Sebring operator gun his engine. He followed as the sedan took a sudden left turn onto Cushing Street. Dellaria estimated Willis was traveling 60 mph down the thickly settled residential street that intersects with the town’s rail trail path.

As Dellaria closed in on the suspect’s car, Willis took an “aggressive and dangerous” left turn through a stop sign onto Bartlett Street. The vehicle drove through another stop sign at the end of Bartlett Street and took a right onto Elm Street. Willis then made another sharp turn into the Chris’ Auto Body parking lot.

Eventually, the car stopped and Dellaria drew his pistol. He ordered the suspects to place their hands in the air and for the driver to throw the keys out the window. Dellaria then called the station for additional units as he prepared to arrest them. Arriving at the scene were Amesbury police officer Matthew Cunningham, Sgt. William Scholtz, state Trooper Dan Ciardiello from the Newbury barracks and Salisbury Sgt. Robert Roy.

Both passengers were removed from the vehicle and handcuffed. Police quickly spotted a baseball bat where Cowhig was sitting along with two knives inside his pocket. Police also found a small red bag containing used and fresh syringes, numerous pieces of cotton, small square-inch plastic baggies, sandwich baggies, a gray digital scale and a spoon with thick brown residue still cooked to it.

Inside the center console police found a prescription pill bottle with the label ripped off. Suspecting one of the two men had thrown something out of the car, Dellaria asked Ciardiello to check a nearby section of woods. Minutes later, Ciardiello found a clear plastic bag containing what turned out to be 2.6 grams of heroin with a street value of $400, according to court records.

Following their arrest and transport to the Salisbury police station, Cowhig told police he took heroin to combat chronic pain related to an old work injury.

“He told me he purchased the heroin yesterday in Lawrence and paid $500 for it. He told me he uses only once daily,” Dellaria wrote in his report.

In a separate interview, Willis told police that Cowhig purchases his heroin from a Salisbury source, and it is delivered to his residence daily, contradicting Cowhig’s statement.