, Salem, MA

February 11, 2014

Reveler gets probation in cabbie assault


---- — DANVERS — A New York City man will spend the next two years on probation, with conditions that include anger management classes, after admitting to attacking a cab driver last Halloween.

Brian Dowdall, 41, was charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct following the incident, which took place around 1 a.m. on Nov. 1.

Dowdall and his wife were in the cab, heading from downtown Salem, where they had spent part of the evening drinking at Rockafellas, to Motel 6 on Route 1 in Danvers, where they were staying, according to police.

Dowdall asked the cab driver for North Shore Taxi to pull over to allow him to use the restroom at a gas station on Route 114, police said in a report. The cabbie told Dowdall that they were almost at the hotel, however, and said he wouldn’t stop.

The cab driver told police that Dowdall, described by police as “highly intoxicated,” then grabbed him by the throat.

Dowdall told police that the cabbie had made inappropriate comments about his wife.

Prosecutors asked Salem District Court Judge Matthew Machera Friday to impose a guilty finding in the case and sentence Dowdall to 18 months in jail, with six months to be served and the rest of the time on probation, with a list of conditions including anger management and restitution, as well as random alcohol tests.

Dowdall’s attorney, Jeff Denner, requested that the case be continued without a finding for a year, with unsupervised probation, meaning that if his client stays out of trouble, the charge would be dismissed.

Machera granted the continuation without a finding but made it supervised and for two years, a longer period of probation that will also include anger management, restitution, alcohol testing and a no-contact order with the victim, a Peabody man.

Machera is also allowing Dowdall to return to New York and for him to be supervised by a probation officer there.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.