Guilford driver charged with intentionally striking pedestrian
BRATTLEBORO -- A Guilford woman is accused of intentionally striking a pedestrian with her car on Elliot Street in Brattleboro.
Polly J. McNaughton, 21, has pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicle operation with reckless or gross negligence, simple assault and reckless endangerment in connection with the April 12 incident.
She was released pending further court action, with conditions including a prohibition on driving any "car, truck or motorcycle."
Brattleboro police say they were called to Elliot Street for a report of a man who had been struck by a car just after 6 p.m. According to an affidavit filed in Windham Superior Court Criminal Division, Officer Carl Warner met with a woman who claimed McNaughton "attempted to run her over with her four-door, hatchback white Ford Focus ... but struck her boyfriend."
The woman said she and McNaughton previously had an argument on Elliot Street near Spring Street. Afterward, the woman and her boyfriend were walking on Elliot Street, against the flow of traffic, toward the intersection with Union Street.
"McNaughton came from behind them in her car and swerved toward them," Warner's affidavit says, quoting the woman's sworn statement. The woman said her boyfriend "pushed her out of the way," but McNaughton's car struck him, "almost knocking him off his feet."
McNaughton drove away without stopping, the woman told police.
The man was transported to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, where he told police he had been "side-swiped by a white, SUV-looking car" but did not see the driver. Court documents say the car's mirror struck his wrist, and the front fender "clipped his leg."
Warner met with McNaughton at Brattleboro's police station. She claimed that she had been driving the opposite direction, away from Union Street, and did not pass or strike the victim.
"McNaughton repeatedly asked me to turn my recorder off so she could ‘tell me what really happened,'" Warner wrote in his affidavit.
A witness, however, told police that he had seen McNaughton swerve across Elliot Street and hit the victim. The witness, who is related to the alleged male victim, said he "heard McNaughton's tires squeal and believed the driver was intentionally trying to strike" the couple.
Based on his investigation, Warner wrote that he believes "McNaughton was operating her vehicle in a manner grossly deviant from the normal manner in which a reasonable person would operate their vehicle."
McNaughton's conditions of release say she can have no contact with the man or woman involved in the incident. McNaughton also has a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, with exceptions for work only.
McNaughton has two prior misdemeanor convictions for violating conditions of release and false information to law enforcement, court records show. Due to the new charges, she now is accused of violating her probation, Warner's affidavit says.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.
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