PLUM ISLAND — A Newbury police investigation is continuing into an incident on Sunday night that resulted in a gun being tossed off the Wilkinson Bridge by people in a car that was about to be stopped by police.
Lt. John Lucey said a 9 mm Baretta semi-automatic pistol was recovered Monday afternoon from dense brush next to the bridge that carries the Plum Island Turnpike over the Plum Island River, connecting the island to the mainland.
Lucey said the pistol belongs to Nicholas Hayes, 22, of 44 Folly Mill Road, Salisbury, who does not have a license to carry it.
Hayes was apparently the driver of a 1998 red Chevrolet Monte Carlo that left the scene of a street fight that broke out near Plum Island Center shortly after 9:30 Sunday night, Lucey said.
Lucey credited Amesbury K9 officer Tom Nichols and his dog, Kaybar, with recovering the gun.
"Without Kaybar, the chances of locating it would have been slim," he said. "It was very thick brush, right along the river."
In addition to carrying an unlicensed weapon, Hayes has been charged with driving without a license, giving a false name to a police officer and being a fugitive from justice on a New Hampshire warrant charging him with a nonresidential burglary.
Hayes and his two 20-year-old passengers in the car, Devin Hayes and Kerry Fairweather, were "principals" in the Plum Island Center altercation that broke out during a party at a nearby residence Sunday night and involved six or seven people, Lucey said.
An unidentified woman at the party scene was transported to Anna Jaques Hospital, and a man was taken into protective custody.
Lucey said Newbury officer Michael Croteau and Sgt. Patricia Fisher and Newburyport officers Michael Wilichoski and Shawn Eaton responded to the initial report of the fight.
When the red Chevrolet left the scene, Newbury officer Michael Balsley and Newburyport officer Richard Rocco were on route to the island to provide backup.
Balsley recognized the Monte Carlo and made a U-turn on Plum Island Boulevard to pursue the car.
Lucey said Hayes probably realized he was about to be stopped by police and did not want to be caught with the gun in his possession.
It was not immediately clear who tossed the gun from the vehicle. Lucey declined to discuss specifics of how police learned that Hayes owned a handgun.