, Salem, MA

October 2, 2012

Big fare leads to big trouble for Salem woman


---- — SALEM — A Salem woman who racked up a $180 fare after taking a cab from Portsmouth, N.H., to Salem Friday night, then ran into a building and hid under a blanket when she was unable to pay, has been ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.

Cheryl Callahan, 42, pleaded not guilty to a charge of evading a fare during her arraignment yesterday in Salem District Court, where she also answered to a nearly two-year-old warrant charging her with punching an employee and an ambulance worker at Salem Hospital last year.

Salem Police Lt. Conrad Prosniewski told a judge that the woman had asked to be taken to Salem. Salem is about 50 miles south of Portsmouth.

When the driver arrived, she told him she needed to get out on Derby Street to get money for the fare. Then, she disappeared.

A patrolman found her inside a darkened hallway in a building, standing with a blanket over her head.

Defense lawyer William Martin said Callahan's conduct both Friday night and yesterday in court called her mental status into question. Throughout her court appearance, Callahan repeatedly interrupted her lawyer and proclaimed her innocence.

Martin said Callahan told him her wallet had been taken Friday night, which is why she couldn't pay the fare.

Judge Michael Lauranzano released Callahan without setting bail, but ordered that she undergo a mental health evaluation while the case is pending.

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