Drivers come to aid of state trooper, apprehend suspect: Hitchhiker charged with assaulting a police officer
|By TAMARA RACE|
The Patriot Ledger
PLYMOUTH - Usually, it's the police helping motorists on the highway. This time, it was the other way around.
Seeing a state trooper struggling to arrest a man by the side of Route 3, rush hour commuters stopped their cars, chased the man a short distance and handcuffed him.
The trooper, Kathleen Carney, had stopped to speak with a hitchhiker walking south on Route 3 near Exit 7 about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"I thought his car might have broken down," she said. "When I found out he was just hitchhiking, I told him it was against the law and offered to give him a ride off the highway."
The hitchhiker, David Wiseman, 38, of Plymouth, consented to a precautionary frisk, Carney said, but apparently forgot about the marijuana and knives in his pockets.
"I was a little concerned after finding the buck knife and Swiss Army knife because I had asked him if he had any weapons or anything on him I should know about and he said no," she said.
"I reached around his front pocket and found a small plastic bag of marijuana and another object," Carney said. "He offered to get it out for me and when I said no, he turned his torso slightly and punched me with his right fist."
The punch slammed into her left jaw, dropping her beside her cruiser.
"It was a sucker punch," she said. "I never saw it coming."
Carney, 36, said she jumped up and grabbed Wiseman's jacket before he could run away.
The two fought near the cruiser, with Wiseman wriggling out of his jacket, Carney said. He eventually tore his way out of his T-shirt and gold chain as Carney struggled to arrest him.
Gerard Cullivan, 41, saw the fight while driving south on Route 3. He was heading home to Plymouth from his job in Rockland.
"She was trying to apprehend him and he was fighting for his freedom," Cullivan said. "Traffic was moving slowly because of the cruiser pulled over with the lights flashing. At first I wasn't sure I had a role. I didn't want to interfere and she was doing a pretty good job, but when I saw her go down and the guy running away, I pulled over and ran after him."
Cullivan and another motorist, John Langill of Plymouth, chased Wiseman up a hill and along an embankment and caught him as he searched desperately for a hole in the fence near the WPLM radio station.
Cullivan, Langill and two other men held Wiseman on the ground. Carney tossed her handcuffs over and one of the men secured Wiseman's hands behind his back.
The men walked Wiseman back to the cruiser and placed him in the back seat.
Cullivan said he didn't worry about any possible danger.
"He looked more like a scared animal than anything else," he said. "He wasn't aggressive; he was just looking for a hole in the fence so he could keep on running. I felt kind of sorry for him. He's probably wishing he hadn't hit the trooper now."
Carney praised Cullivan and the others who came to her aid.
"It was nice to see these men were willing to take a chance and put themselves at risk to help a state trooper. I'm very grateful for their help."
Carney, an eight-year veteran of the force, has been attacked before.
Two years ago, she was dragged about 40 feet by a drunk driver who refused to stop on Route 495 in Raynham.
"He was a repeat offender," she said. "I got him to stop by breaking the window with my flashlight."
Carney was not injured in yesterday's altercation.
The object in Wiseman's pocket turned out to be a small pipe, police said.
Wiseman was arraigned in Plymouth District Court and pleaded innocent to assault and battery on a police officer and marijuana possession. He was held in lieu of $10,000 cash bail and is due back in court June 12.
Copyright 2001 The Patriot Ledger