Keene man pleads guilty to charges related to post office crash
KEENE, N.H. -- A local man will stay behind bars another 43 days after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a high-speed chase that ended when he allegedly crashed a car into the Ashuelot Post Office.
Gage B. Gushlaw, 22, pleaded guilty in Keene 8th Circuit Court District Division to disobeying an officer, conduct after an accident, driving after license revocation and a subsequent driving while intoxicated offense.
Gushlaw was being held at the Cheshire County Department of Corrections for lack of bail since June 8, when police say he led them on a high-speed chase before losing control of the car he was driving and crashing into the right side of the Ashuelot Post Office.
Gushlaw had 51 days of pre-trial credit that will go toward his initial sentence of 97 days.
According to a report from the Winchester Police Department, officers responded a domestic disturbance call at a stopped motor vehicle in the area of 116 Keene Road at 7:05 p.m. on June 8. Winchester Police Chief Gary A. Phillips told the Reformer that Gushlaw's girlfriend, also of Keene, was driving a 1998 Oldsmobile Cutlass with Gushlaw as her passenger when the two got into an argument. Phillips said Gushlaw pulled the key out of the ignition and Gushlaw's girlfriend pulled over to the side of the road, where she was soon driven from the scene by a Winchester resident. Gushlaw, Phillips said, then drove the Oldsmobile Cutlass from the scene, following the vehicle that was transporting his girlfriend toward Keene.
Officers were taking information at the scene moments later when they saw Gushlaw drive past them on Keene Road, heading toward downtown Winchester at a high speed. They followed Gushlaw but lost sight of him and Phillips told the Reformer the chase was called off due to safety concerns because Gushlaw was driving more than 100 mph. A Hinsdale Police officer responding to assist saw Gushlaw pass him going west on Route 119 before the crash. Gushlaw fled the scene on foot but was apprehended by police after what Phillips said was a 15-minute search.
No one else was injured in the crash.
Phillips told the Reformer he feels the sentence was fair, as long as Gushlaw pays the restitution he was ordered to as a result of the damage he caused to the post office building. The Ashuelot Post Office has been closed since the crash but could open by the beginning or middle of the fall, according to Melissa Lohnes, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service's Northeast area.
Lohnes said customers who live in Ashuelot are still being directed to the Winchester Post Office at 11 Richmond Road to pick up their mail, which they can do by showing photo identification. She told the Reformer people can go to the Winchester location or any other post office in the area for postal retail services, such as sending priority mail or purchasing stamps.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.
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