By CAROL ROBIDOUX
Union Leader Correspondent
NEWBURYPORT, MASS. – Road rage got the better of a Derry, NH, man, who threatened another motorist with a baseball bat while driving Tuesday night on Route 113.
Neil Christopherson, 39, of 11 Tobacco Road, Derry, was arraigned Wednesday in Newburyport District Court on multiple charges after losing his temper while traveling behind an elderly couple on Storey Road, also known as Route 113.
According to Newburyport Police Lt. Rick Siemasko, the two drivers ended up in a loud argument after which Christopherson allegedly hit the victim with his car twice before driving off.
“Clearly (Christopherson) was having a bad day, and has some anger management issues,” Siemasko said.
The incident happened at about 7 p.m. when Christopherson, driving a Mini Cooper, was traveling behind an Impala driven by the 69-year-old victim, of Lawrence, Mass., who was with his 69-year-old wife, a passenger in the Impala.
According to statements made to police, the couple was driving below the 50 mph zone.
Christopherson started swinging a baseball bat out his car window while driving, said Siemasko. The victim, whose name was not released by police, pulled off the road. Christopherson pulled over behind him and the two men got out of their cars and started yelling at one another.
“A resident of Storey Road said the yelling was so loud he actually came out of his house to see what was going on. Christopherson got back into his car and allegedly hit the victim a couple times with his car before driving off. That's when a passing motorist, who saw the end of the action, followed Christopherson a few miles down the road,” Siemasko said. “That's how we caught him.”
The victim declined medical treatment and did not suffer any reportable injuries, Siemasko said. The charges against Christopherson, three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon to a person over 65; one count of assault by means of a dangerous weapon on a person over 65; leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident with personal injury; and reckless operation of a motor vehicle, carry elevated penalties because of the victim's age, said Siemasko.
In lieu of bail, Christopherson was to be held at Essex County Correctional Facility in Middleton, Mass., following his arraignment.