Life on the mean streets of Westerly, R.I.

westerly police department

Urban types tend to stereotype small towns as being boring. No doubt some are but others appear to be hotbeds of interesting activity.

Take Westerly, Rhode Island. The 345-year-old community, located near the border with Connecticut, would appear be positively chock full o’ action.

Earlier this month, for example, one Darrel J. Northup, a Westerly resident, was arraigned yet again in Washington (R.I.) County Superior Court, this time on charges he intentionally rammed his mother’s Kia Optima into a “perceived romantic rival” in Westerly, according to the local newspaper.

Northup, 24, is charged with “felony assault with a dangerous weapon and failure to stop at an accident resulting in personal injury or death” related to the incident, which took place in January, the Westerly Sun reported.

Northup has been behind bars since then after it was learned that he had violated probation related to previous felony charges, including the 2012 assault of a funeral director.

In his latest brush with the law, according to police, Northup ran down William E. Cossia as he left Westerly’s delightfully named drinking and dining establishment The Brazen Hen (which describes itself as an “upscale Irish pub”), where the victim and others employed by Midway Pizza, including Northup’s ex-girlfriend, had gathered for a belated company holiday party.

Witnesses told police Northup drove his mother’s 2011 Kia Optima at Cossia as he stepped off the sidewalk. Cossia was thrown into the air, hit the hood of the car and fell to the ground, according to the Sun.

Northup’s ex-girlfriend, with whom she is fortunate enough to have a child, was also at the scene. Police said Northup fled the scene but was later apprehended.

Northup would seem to have, as they say, “issues.”

At the time of his latest arrest Northup was serving a one-year suspended prison term, along with one year of probation after pleading no contest to assaulting the area funeral director.

When he was 19, he pleaded no contest to felony charges of conspiracy to commit arson for his role in an incident where he and another man set fire to a 19-year-old Westerly woman’s car.

Police at the time said the crime was revenge for a female friend who claimed the other woman was texting her boyfriend, the publication reported. A charge of fourth-degree arson was dismissed and Northup received a three-year suspended prison sentence, along with three years of probation on the conspiracy charge.

And, just in case readers of the Sun weren’t naturally inclined to gravitate toward crime news, the paper apparently sought to catch their attention with a headline implying that the most recent alleged assault took place inside the halls of justice: “Westerly man charged in hit-and-run in court”.

My interactions with Westerly, sadly, were limited to a pair of weddings I attended there, approximately seven years apart, in the 1990s.

Alas, neither was anywhere near as exciting as the intrigues of Mr. Northup nor the goings-on at the Brazen Hen.

(HT: Kids Prefer Cheese)


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