Police records detail student’s arrest
The Colby-Sawyer College student who accused former New London police chief David Seastrand of asking her to pose nude in exchange for leniency was arrested while walking down the road alone and intoxicated, according to public records and officials.
The student, identified in a police log and court records as Janelle Westfall, 18, of Alexandria, pleaded not guilty in Newport’s district court last week to charges of underage possession of alcohol and providing false information to authorities, according to court documents. Westfall had a 12-ounce can of Bud Light, and, when arrested by Seastrand on March 3, provided a false name and date of birth, according to court documents.
Seastrand filed the complaints against Westfall in court, weeks before he resigned in an agreement with the attorney general’s office, which was investigating Westfall’s complaint that the chief had offered to drop the case if Westfall posed for a series of nude pictures for him.
Westfall could not be reached for comment yesterday. Her attorney, Rick Lehmann of Concord, declined to discuss the charges against her.
“She’s a good kid from a good family and will make a trustworthy witness,” said Lehmann, who has worked as a prosecutor at the attorney general’s office and the Merrimack County attorney’s office, and serves as the legal counsel for the state Senate.
A trial on the criminal charges is scheduled for June. Lehmann said that Westfall is also likely to file a lawsuit based on Seastrand’s conduct.
Meanwhile, acting police Chief Edward Andersen yesterday provided additional information about events that led to Seastrand’s arrest of Westfall.
Lehmann has previously noted that Seastrand arrested Westfall while he was not in uniform and driving an unmarked car, and that other Colby-Sawyer students were arrested that night by uniformed officers.
“My client was picked out and arrested in an unusual way,” Lehmann told the Valley News last week.
But Andersen yesterday said there was nothing “unusual” about the initial encounter. Seastrand did not single Westfall out, Andersen said, but rather came across her after being called to respond to a separate incident.
About 12:30 a.m. March 3, a police officer requested backup off County Road after a suspect ran away wearing handcuffs, according to police documents.
In an interview, Andersen said that officers had been called to a disturbance and tried to take multiple people into custody when one of the people, a male, ran off as he was being handcuffed.
Seastrand, who was home, was on call that night and responded wearing civilian clothes in an unmarked cruiser that he had taken home, Andersen said.
“You jump out with the clothes you have on,” Andersen said. “He was called to assist.”
Police records indicate that officers left the scene at 2 a.m. Nine minutes later, police records show that Seastrand arrested Westfall on County Road near Knights Hill Park.
Andersen said that as Seastrand drove home, he encountered Westfall “intoxicated” in County Road and pulled over to investigate.