BY JULIE MANGANIS
---- — DANVERS — A man who once served time for trying to run down a police officer in a stolen pickup truck was arraigned yesterday on charges stemming from a “road rage” incident on Route 128 last summer that left a Beverly couple terrified.
But because state police didn’t actually see David Ouimet tailgating, then passing the couple and jamming on his brakes repeatedly on the evening of July 22, the only charge he’s facing is malicious destruction of property, after he allegedly tossed glass bottles and a handful of small, hard objects at the car behind him.
Ouimet, 28, of 25 Walsh Ave., Peabody, pleaded not guilty yesterday in Salem District Court, where he appeared in response to a summons.
The incident occurred on Route 128 in Danvers, when, according to the couple’s account to police, they were heading north and noticed a red pickup truck tailgating them.
The couple told police the driver wouldn’t back off. Then he passed them, got in front of their car, and slammed on his brakes repeatedly, according to a police report.
Then the couple noticed glass bottles coming out of the passenger side window of the truck, one of them bouncing off the hood of the car, others shattering on the pavement, according to the report. That was followed by handfuls of hard, metal objects flung from the driver’s side of the pickup, which hit the side of the sedan, chipping the paint.
As the couple tried to exit the highway at Route 35, they told police, the pickup truck blocked them from getting onto the ramp.
They eventually did manage to get off the road and pulled into a Walgreens parking lot, where they dialed 911.
Trooper Zachary Bolcome, using the partial license plate number from the truck that the couple had written down, identified a 2005 red Ford pickup truck that was registered to Ouimet. The trooper found Ouimet outside his Peabody home, where he allegedly admitted that he had been on Route 128 in Danvers at the time of the incident, but denied having any encounters with other drivers.
Because he was summonsed to court and not arrested, Judge Matthew Nestor denied a request by prosecutors to hold Ouimet on $750 cash bail.
Ouimet has a four-page criminal record that includes numerous assault and battery charges stemming from fights, and dating back to his teen years.
In 2005, Ouimet was charged with and later convicted of attempting to run down a Gloucester police officer who was investigating the theft of a pickup truck with a plow from a condo complex in that city. During the incident, the officer fired his gun at Ouimet, then 19, who was spotted driving the stolen truck. Ouimet later served two years in jail.
Prosecutors also pointed out that at the time of the Danvers incident, Ouimet was out on release on a charge of receiving stolen property, filed last April by Peabody police after an incident at the Northshore Mall.
Ouimet is due back in court in the new case on Jan. 27.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.