HAVERHILL — After nearly backing into a police officer with his tires spinning in an effort to escape, Joshua Willett ended up getting stuck in a snowbank. Police surrounded the vehicle but Willett refused to give up. He maintained pressure on the vehicle’s accelerator as one officer tried to smash a window using handcuffs, but the glass wouldn’t give. Another officer had better luck with a scissors jack.
When police finally dragged Willett out of the 2003 Jeep Liberty that was registered to his girlfriend, he kicked at the officers. Police said he appeared to be under the influence of some drug and that his speech was slurred and incomprehensible.
That’s how a police report described what happened last Friday at about 11 a.m. when they tried to arrest Willett on a fugitive from justice warrant along with other outstanding warrants.
Willett, 40, was arraigned Monday in Haverhill District Court on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of Class B, reckless operation, operating with a revoked license (subsequent offense), operating under the influence of drugs, leaving the scene of property damage and failure to stop for police.
According to the Essex District Attorney’s Office, Willett was held on $10,000 cash bail but was also held for 60 days on an open case in Haverhill of shoplifting and possession of Class E. In addition, he has a suspended sentence out of Newburyport so a warrant was issued on that case.
On June 6, 2012, Willett was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in the house of correction with nine months to be served and the balance suspended for two years after pleading guilty to several charges involving falsely obtaining prescription drugs, court officials said. In addition, police in Connecticut filed a fugitive from justice charge.
Police in Glastonbury, Conn., contacted Haverhill police Friday morning alerting them that Willett, 40, was a fugitive with multiple warrants for his arrest and his last known address was in Haverhill.
Haverhill police got word that Willett was staying at his family’s home on Doane Street with his girlfriend, Michelle Belfiore. Willett is known to drive a green 2003 Jeep Liberty belonging to Belfiore, police said. Both Willett or Belfiore have revoked licenses in Massachusetts, police said.
Police say Belfiore wasn’t arrested because she wasn’t present at the arrest of Willett.
Belfiore was charged with allowing improper operation of a motor vehicle. Police said that if you own a vehicle you can not allow someone to use your vehicle if they do not have a valid license, and therefore can be charged for allowing an unlicensed person to use your vehicle.
Police said it will be up to the court to decide whether Belfiore will be issued a summons to answer to the charge or if a warrant will be issued for her arrest.