, Salem, MA

Local News

April 25, 2013

Man who demanded trial now wants his case tossed

SALEM — A Salem gas station attendant is facing charges of malicious destruction after police say he threw a traffic cone at the back of a truck after complaining that it was partially blocking the entrance to a closed car wash at the station.

Michael Whitaker, 48, of 78 Beaver St. pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge yesterday at his arraignment in Salem District Court, where he appeared in response to a summons.

According to a police report, Whitaker was working at the Shell station on Boston Street on Nov. 19 when a man pulled in the station in a large pickup truck.

The driver of the truck told police that he was there to get air for a low tire when Whitaker came out and yelled at him for parking near the car wash entrance, according to the report.

Words were exchanged, and Whitaker went into the station, returning with a ball-peen hammer in his hand, police said.

The driver said Whitaker then picked up an orange traffic cone, one of several that were placed near the entrance to the car wash, and threw it at the back of the truck, smashing a rear light.

He did not apparently use the hammer for anything.

When police arrived, Whitaker told an officer that he believed the driver was planning to steal the cones.

The officer suggested that he could resolve the case by simply agreeing to pay the driver for the damage, around $200. But Whitaker was adamant that the case go to court, even when his boss showed up and offered to pay for the damage himself.

Yesterday, however, Whitaker told a judge that he had since paid for the repair to the driver’s truck with “OEM parts,” meaning the replacement light was from the truck’s manufacturer. He wondered if the case could just be dismissed.

But it was too late to stop the wheels of justice: Judge Michael Lauranzano told Whitaker that he was being assigned a court-appointed lawyer and that the case would proceed to trial.

Whitaker was ordered to return to court on June 20.

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

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Comments Tracker