By Dave Rogers
---- — AMESBURY — A Salisbury man will spend as many as five years in jail after admitting yesterday in Salem Superior Court he was driving drunk while leading police on a high-speed chase in a stolen car last July.
Timothy J. Ploof, 49, of 104 Beach Road, was charged with reckless operation of a motor vehicle, driving while under the influence of alcohol (third offense), receiving a stolen motor vehicle, leaving the scene after property damage and resisting arrest.
Essex County District Attorney spokesman Steve O’Connell said Ploof pleaded guilty on all charges, prompting Judge David Lowy to sentence him to three-and-a-half to five years in state prison for the drunken driving charge and larceny of a motor vehicle charge to run concurrently. Ploof was also sentenced to three years’ probation after his release from jail.
According to police, last year’s incident began when Ploof sped away from a Linwood Place residence in a stolen car. The car’s owner, who called police to report the theft, had left the keys inside. Ploof allegedly smashed into a parked car at the corner of High and Essex streets. The car was significantly damaged in the crash and suffered a flat left front tire as well.
Officer Matthew Cunningham caught up with Ploof on Highland Street, but instead of surrendering to police, Ploof sped off, turning onto Hillside Avenue before turning right on Route 110, police said.
The pursuit reached speeds up to 70 mph as police followed Ploof into Merrimac, where other police were waiting to stop him. Police say Ploof resisted arrest and was bitten by Amesbury police dog Kaybar, prompting Ploof to kick the dog, owned by K-9 officer Thomas Nichols. Ploof was transported to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport for treatment before being taken to the Amesbury police station for booking.
Assisting officers Cunningham and Nichols were Amesbury officer Michael Purvis, Sgt. Craig Bailey and Merrimac police officer Steven Ringuette. Prosecuting the case for the state was assistant district attorney Michael Sheehan.