KEENE, N.H. -- A Vernon, Vt., man is facing multiple charges after police say he severely injured a Hinsdale woman by intentionally striking her with his pickup truck following a dispute Saturday morning.
David J. Sage, 43, was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated, first-degree assault with a deadly weapon and reckless conduct. He is accused of using his truck to hit a woman in the driveway of a River Court residence at approximately 1:15 a.m.
Winchester Police Chief Gary A. Phillips told the Reformer Cpl. Cameron Prior and Officer John Dunleavy were on patrol early Saturday morning when the call of the incident came in and the dispatcher described the suspected vehicle. On the way to the scene, the two saw a pickup truck matching the description and pursued it. Swanzey Police were dispatched to the River Court residence to tend to the injured woman.
According to the police affidavit, Sage was stopped on Keene Road and had visible marks on his face, as well as blood coming from his nose and on his hands. When Dunleavy asked where the blood came from, Sage said he gets bloody noses from high blood pressure. Sage also said he had been in a fight up the road but could not remember the name of the specific street where it occured.
Dunleavy noticed, according to the affidavit, Sage had bloodshot and watery eyes and was having difficulty keeping them open. He told the officers he had had three or four beers and he was arrested after failing all three standardized field sobriety tests administered on him. After Sage was handcuffed and placed into the police cruiser, Dunleavy noticed scratches to the truck's left door and some handprints on the hood. The front left light had also been broken and Dunleavy took photographs of the damage.
Sage was brought to the Winchester Police Department, where he agreed to a Breathalyzer test and registered a blood-alcohol content of .17 percent. The legal limit is .08.
Swanzey Police Officer Rene Doyle responded to the River Court residence and spoke with witnesses, who said Sage came to visit the victim and everyone had been consuming alcohol when an argument started and Sage was asked to leave. Witnesses said Sage spit, cursed, threatened and attempted to assault people at the residence. Sage reportedly refused to leave without the victim, who went outside to try to calm Sage before another argument broke out.
Witnesses told police Sage got in his truck and began to rev his engine and spin his tires on the ice in the driveway. Sage reportedly then began to move toward the victim and another person who was standing in the driveway. The victim was struck by the front of the truck and got knocked into a snow bank. Sage then got out of the truck, began to fight with the other person and got back into the vehicle and left.
The victim was taken to Cheshire Medical Center in Keene and flown to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon once the extent of her injuries was realized. The victim later spoke to Prior via telephone and said she had suffered broken ribs, a severed liver and a spinal injury.
Sage was held on $20,000 cash bail, which he was unable to pay, and was held at the Cheshire County House of Corrections until Monday, when his bail was set at $5,000 and he was released. A probable cause hearing has been scheduled. Sage is prohibited from coming within 300 feet of the victim, according to court documents.
Chief Phillips said he was happy with how quickly his officers responded and that they were able to apprehend Sage.
"Justice will run its course," he said.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.