Police say Epsom man surrendered ‘peacefully’ following pursuit

Monitor staff
Published: 9/6/2018 5:31:38 PM

A 63-year-old Epsom man suspected of swallowing a bottle of prescription pills before driving erratically on Route 28 was taken to the hospital Thursday after police followed him for 14 miles.

Epsom police Chief Wayne Preve, the officer who pursued the man before shutting off his flashing lights and following him, declined to identify the suspect, adding that no one was hurt. The man was not arrested, Preve said.

“Our first concern was the medical aspect,” said Preve, leaning against the combination-lock door in the lobby of the Epsom Police Station. “Charges will follow in the next couple of days.”

Preve would not comment on what those charges might be.

The incident began about 12:20 p.m., when the suspect’s wife notified police dispatch that her husband “had taken a bottle of pills” and driven away, Preve said.

The chief quickly spotted the suspect’s vehicle, a 2013 Dodge pickup, and gave chase. Coming out of the Epsom Traffic Circle and driving north, the suspect “took off at a high rate of speed once he entered the Suncook Valley Highway (Rte. 28 North),” Preve said.

Preve said the man reached a top speed of about 80 miles per hour, and at one point, the pickup truck he was driving crossed into the southbound lane. That’s when Preve changed his strategy, ending his official chase after only a quarter of a mile.

Preve shut off his flashing lights and “monitored” the suspect from a distance, moving from Epsom to Chichester to Pittsfield before the man turned around near Route 107 and headed back toward Epsom.

“I followed close enough to see the vehicle in front of me,” Preve said. “He was driving erratically and I canceled the pursuit. The way he was driving, I thought it was a safety concern for others. If he had robbed a bank or committed a murder, all bets are off.”

Preve tailed the man to the Epsom Valley Campground, where he was joined by two other officers – one from his own department and another from Pembroke – who brought spike strips with him just in case.

Contact was made with the suspect, Preve said, before he got into the ambulance and was taken to Concord Hospital. “He went peacefully,” Preve said.

Preve said the man had no weapon.

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304 or rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)

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