JACKSON — A Massachusetts man was arrested Tuesday evening after leading an officer on a chase that ended in Bartlett, Jackson Police Chief Chris Perley said Wednesday.
The incident began about 6 p.m. Tuesday, when Patrol Officer First Class Ryan McDonald observed a commercial box truck being driven over the Jackson Covered Bridge in violation of the bridge's 3-ton weight limit.
He made a traffic stop in the area of the Red Fox Bar & Grille on Route 16 in Jackson.
The driver was identified as Dereck Leighton, 40, of Amesbury, Mass.
"Immediately after the initial stop, the driver of the box truck fled the scene in the vehicle," said Perley.
McDonald followed Leighton south on Route 16 to the traffic signal, where Leighton turned right onto Route 302 in Glen. The box truck continued on, failing to stop for emergency lights as he drove westbound, said Perley.
Near Patch’s Market in Bartlett, Leighton began passing vehicles unlawfully as well as traveling approximately 70 mph despite inclement weather conditions due to Winter Storm Maya, the chief said.
"McDonald terminated the pursuit due to the risk to the general public," Perley said, but added that McDonald continued up Route 302 and saw the truck make a right turn onto Bartlett Place Road. At that point he resumed pursuit.
"McDonald ultimately stopped the offender and took him into custody without incident or injury," Perley said.
Leighton was taken to the Conway Police Department for processing and was later bailed on personal recognizance, said Perley.
Leighton was charged with disobeying a police officer (Class A misdemeanor, $2,000 fine and one year in jail) and driving after being deemed a habitual offender (Class B felony, $4,000, potential five years in NH State Prison).
Perley told the Sun that Leighton also will be cited with allegedly driving over the bridge in a vehicle that exceeded the bridge's 3-ton weight limit. The violation carries a $62 fine.
Leighton was driving a work truck that was involved in a carpet-laying project at a local hotel, said Perley.
He has an initial court date of March, 12 in the 3rd Circuit Court in Conway, said Perley.