DANVERS — A New York City man here to celebrate Halloween in Salem is facing charges after police say he tried to strangle a cab driver who refused to stop at a gas station on Route 114 in Danvers early yesterday so that he could urinate.
Brian Dowdall, 41, pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and battery and disorderly conduct during his arraignment yesterday in Salem District Court, where Judge Matthew Nestor released him on personal recognizance, with an order to stay away from the driver for North Shore Taxi while the case is pending.
Dowdall and his wife were picked up outside Rockafellas in downtown Salem, where, police say, they had seven drinks between them.
As they headed back to the Motel 6 in Danvers just after 1 a.m., Dowdall asked the cab driver to stop at a Gulf Express so that he could use the men’s room, according to a police report. The cabbie said they were just a couple of minutes from the motel, and refused.
Suddenly, the driver told police, he felt Dowdall’s hands around his throat.
Dowdall, who was described by police as highly intoxicated, told officers that the cabbie had been making inappropriate remarks about his wife, according to a police report.
The cab driver told police that he felt himself starting to pass out before he was able to pull over and open the door to escape.
A sheriff’s deputy on his way down Route 114 saw the stopped vehicle and the men and radioed for help.
As police were interviewing the driver, Dowdall, who had been sarcastic with the officers, continued to “stare down” the cabbie and make loud remarks, police said. That led to a charge of disorderly conduct.
Dowdall’s wife, who police said was also intoxicated, was taken into protective custody.
Dowdall is due back in court on Dec. 18.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.