CONTACT:
      CO Mike Eastman: 603-271-3361
      Major Tim Acerno: 603-271-3129
      December 10, 2009

Laconia Man Arrested for Illegal Operation, Stolen Snowmobile

CONCORD, N.H. – In the midst of Wednesday’s snowstorm, John R. Williams of Laconia, age 25, was arrested for reckless conduct and disobeying a Conservation Officer, among other charges, and the snowmobile he was riding was found to be stolen property.  Williams was arraigned today (December 10, 2009) at Laconia District Court and released on $3,000 personal recognizance bail.  He faced additional charges made by the New Hampshire State Police.

The incident began yesterday (December 9, 2009) at 2:15 p.m., when Fish and Game Conservation Officer Michael Eastman attempted to stop Williams, who was operating a snow machine, with a young child as a passenger, on a closed trail alongside Route 11 in Gilford.  Many snow machine trails do not open in New Hampshire until December 15, conditions permitting. 

When CO Eastman attempted to stop him, Williams turned the machine around and fled in the other direction.  He left the trail and veered out onto Route 11, proceeding westbound on the road, which was busy with heavy traffic.  Meanwhile, a major snowstorm was creating hazardous driving conditions. Williams weaved in and out of traffic and through the intersection of Route 11 and Lily Pond Road, with the Conservation Officer in pursuit with blue lights and siren going.

At one point, Williams attempted turn off Route 11, but lost control and hit a snowbank.  Undaunted, he backed out of the snowbank and proceeded down Lake Street, where N.H. State Police Trooper Greg Deluca observed his erratic path and operation on a public way and joined the pursuit.  Williams pulled into a driveway off Lake Street in Laconia, where Conservation Officer Eastman and State Trooper Deluca caught up with him.  As Eastman approached, Williams was attempting to conceal the snowmachine.  Eastman took the operator into custody, charging him with Reckless Conduct and Disobeying a Conservation Officer, among other charges.  Inspection of the snowmachine and registration determined that the vehicle was one of two snowmobiles stolen in January 2009 in Goffstown. 

Williams was taken to the Gilford Police Department, along with his 7-year-old passenger (his son).   The youngster was later released into the custody of a family member.  The snowmachine was seized as evidence and towed from the scene.

Further investigation showed that Williams’ driver’s license was under suspension and he had been deemed a Habitual Offender by the Department of Motor Vehicles.  He was charged by State Police with Receiving Stolen Property and Operating on a Public Way after Being Deemed a Habitual Offender, both felony offenses. N.H. State Police are continuing their investigation into the second stolen snow machine, and further arrests are expected.

“This incident is not typical of responsible snowmobile riders. New Hampshire offers over 7,000 miles of snowmobile trails throughout the state, maintained by volunteers.  This was one of many trails that are closed at this time of year at the request of landowners, allowing time for the clubs to take the opportunity to properly mark or alleviate trail hazards,” said Major Tim Acerno, Coordinator of New Hampshire Fish and Game’s Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle (OHRV) Enforcement and Education programs. “Williams’ actions were even more dangerous considering the hazardous road conditions, which put him, his young son and the motorists at risk.”

No further information is available at this time.

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