EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 15, 2012

Cops: drivers keep car from plowing into kids

Erratic driver hit SUV, was weaving in and out of traffic, witness says; Infiniti reported stolen in Lawrence

HAVERHILL — Police said quick action by several drivers prevented children at a bus stop just north of downtown from getting hit by an erratically moving car.

Several drivers who noticed an Infiniti weaving in and out of traffic Wednesday morning on Main Street told police they pulled out of the way to prevent a big collision. One of the drivers said his SUV was sideswiped by the Infiniti and that he quickly pulled his vehicle into the street’s other lane to give the Infiniti extra room. Otherwise the children at a bus stop would have been hit by the Infiniti, the SUV driver told police.

With the help of the SUV driver, police tracked down the Infiniti, which they said was stolen in Lawrence. Police eventually caught the driver and said they discovered he was free on bail after being charged with armed robbery.

Police charged Jason Ruggs, 19, of Lowell with receiving a stolen motor vehicle (subsequent offense), reckless operation, driving without a license, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, leaving the scene of property damage, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

According to a police report, after Ruggs was arrested and informed of the charges against him, he responded by saying, “Don’t you worry. I will beat that and I got me a good lawyer.”

Ruggs was arraigned on the charges Wednesday in Haverhill District Court. Assistant District Attorney Brad Papalardo said Ruggs managed to accumulate a substantial criminal record as an adult, “in a short time period.” Referring to his criminal record, Papalardo said Ruggs has an open case in Lowell District Court of armed robbery with a knife. Papalardo asked that Ruggs’ bail be revoked on the open case, and that he be held on $7,500 cash bail.

Judge Patricia Dowling revoked Ruggs’ bail on the armed robbery case and ordered Ruggs held on an additional $1,000 cash bail. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Dec. 17 in Haverhill court. Ruggs was represented at his arraignment by defense lawyer Erich Vogt.

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