NEWBURYPORT — A judge ordered a Plum Island man not to drive for two years after police say he sped through a downtown crosswalk on Thanksgiving, coming within a foot of striking two pedestrians crossing Merrimac Street.
John C. Taylor, 23, of 49th Street, Newbury, was found not to be criminally responsible or competent to stand trial for reckless operation of a motor vehicle and crosswalk violation charges. Newburyport District Court Judge Peter Doyle then generally continued both charges for two years but added a long list of conditions Taylor must follow to avoid further prosecution.
In addition to not driving for 24 months, Taylor must remain drug and alcohol free with random screens, take all prescribed medications, attend weekly mental health sessions, must not possess any firearms, and adhere to several other conditions, according to court records.
State police Trooper Edward Jackman was driving east in the area of 58 Merrimac St. about 9:30 a.m. when he saw a Volkswagen Tiguan approaching a nearby crosswalk. Instead of slowing down, the Volkswagen sped up as it came closer to the crosswalk, forcing two pedestrians to scatter to avoid being hit.
"The vehicle came within a foot of striking both pedestrians who stood at the edge of the crosswalk in shock. As the vehicle passed me, the operator never decelerated or applied the brakes. I observed that the operator had his head down and was not looking at the road," Jackman wrote in his report.
Jackman quickly reversed directions and caught up with Taylor close to Market Street. Before Jackman could speak with Taylor, another car pulled up behind the Volkswagen. The driver in that car told Jackman that he had been tailing the Volkswagen since Plum Island and saw Taylor almost hit other pedestrians and three cars.
As Jackman began speaking to Taylor, the trooper could tell he was "spacey and appeared to be somewhere else," adding he was looking at the trooper with a "thousand-yard stare." Taylor later told Jackman that he took medication for mental health reasons, Jackman wrote in his report.
Drawing the conclusion that Taylor was unfit to drive, Jackman ordered Taylor to call his mother to pick him up. Taylor's mother arrived a few minutes later.
After clearing the scene, Jackman filed criminal complaints on the two charges and requested an "immediate threat license suspension" from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, according to his report.
Dave Rogers is a staff writer with The Daily News. Email him at: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.