SALEM — The estranged husband of a Salem woman showed up at her home earlier this month, let himself in through an unlocked door, smashed up her bathroom, stole her car and then crashed it into her house, police said.
Then, Brian Richardson, 45, of no fixed address, left a trail of blood drops, Mercury station wagon parts and automotive fluids from Planters Street in Salem to Beckford Street in Beverly, before disappearing for a week and a half, according to a police report.
Yesterday, Richardson pleaded not guilty to charges that include larceny of a motor vehicle, breaking and entering, wanton destruction of property, driving after license suspension and drunken driving — his second arrest on a drunken-driving charge this year.
The incident unfolded on the evening of Dec. 7, when police were called to the scene of a hit-and-run accident at 18-20 Planters St.
The building’s owner pointed out a 4-foot hole in the foundation and a flattened chain-link fence, as well as the headlight assembly for a Mercury vehicle, Salem police Lt. Conrad Prosniewski told a Salem District Court judge.
A neighbor told police he had seen someone getting into a Mercury station wagon.
As police were speaking with the landlord and the witness, Richardson’s wife came out of the house, asking if they were there because of what had happened to her bathroom.
She told officers that Richardson had let himself in and then punched a hole in her bathroom window, leaving blood and glass all over.
When she asked him what he was doing there, he told her “I’m (expletive) bleeding,” then left, taking her car keys — something she didn’t realize until she got outside and learned that her car was gone.
She told police that Richardson was so drunk he was barely able to stand.
He’s not allowed in the home and usually sleeps in his car or on the sofas of various acquaintances, she added.
Two days after the crash, the woman said Richardson called, telling her she could find her car, a 1989 Mercury station wagon, in Beverly.
Yesterday, Richardson, accompanied by his estranged wife, turned himself in at the Salem police station, where police had an arrest warrant for him.
His attorney, Alice Jayne, argued for Richardson’s release, calling the case “circumstantial” and saying Richardson, a lifelong North Shore resident, is not a flight risk.
Prosniewski, meanwhile, asked for $10,000 bail on the new case and for Judge Michael Lauranzano to revoke Richardson’s bail in his pending drunken-driving case.
Richardson was awaiting trial for a July drunken-driving arrest by state police, said Prosniewski, who called the suspect “an extreme danger” to the public.
Richardson was also convicted of drunken driving in the 1980s.
Lauranzano granted the request to revoke Richardson’s bail from July and set $5,000 bail on the new charges.
A status hearing is scheduled for Jan. 17 in both cases.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.