By Bill Kirk and Paul Tennant
---- — LAWRENCE — A former Bible college student who was charged with stealing $6,000 worth of jewelry from Haverhill homes, then selling it to pawn shops in 2010, is back behind bars after trying to flee police in Andover yesterday morning.
Ruston Prothro, 31, of 2 Wyman Greely Road, Salisbury, was ordered held without bail by Lawrence District Court Judge Lynn Rooney yesterday afternoon. Prothro, who had been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of liquor in Bourne on Thursday night, faces additional charges of driving with a suspended license, failure to stop for police, assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.
Prothro was released on his own recognizance at 1:40 a.m. after his drunken driving arrest in Bourne, according to Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Gillespie. He was ordered to appear in Wareham District Court yesterday morning but instead got into his car and headed north, presumably to his home in Salisbury, Gillespie said.
State Trooper Jeremy Sweeney, who was monitoring traffic on the ramp from Interstate 93 north to Interstate 495 north, entered the registration plate number on Prothro’s Honda Accord and discovered he had a suspended license, according to a police report filed with Lawrence District Court.
Sweeney put on his flashing lights and siren and followed Prothro, but he did not stop, police said. At one point, Sweeney was driving alongside Prothro, who held up his hands in a “what do you want?” gesture, the trooper wrote in his report.
Sweeney followed Prothro onto Route 28, then along Kentworth Street and Magnolia and Ferndale avenues in Andover, police said. Prothro finally stopped his car, got out and started running away near the ramp from Route 28 to Interstate 495 north, Sweeney wrote. By this time, other state troopers as well as Andover police officers had joined the pursuit.
Andover Officer Colin Radford caught up to Prothro, who is 6-foot-1 and weighs 165 pounds, and subdued him, according to Sweeney’s report. Radford said Prothro assaulted him during the struggle.
A friend of Prothro’s, Ashley Collins, who had been following Prothro in her car, was arrested in a nearby parking lot on a warrant, police said.
Prothro vomited in the cruiser and at the state police barracks in Andover, where he was held until his arraignment, police said. He told police he was hung over from alcohol he had consumed.
In 2010, Prothro was arrested and charged with trying to sell jewelry stolen from Haverhill homes. He is still on parole from that offense, police said.
Prothro, originally from Kentucky, was enrolled at Zion Bible College in the Bradford section of Haverhill for a short time, then dropped out and lived at 20 Cumberland Ave., Haverhill, with his wife. In September 2010, he was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property — $6,000 worth of jewelry taken from homes near the Haverhill college.
The school is now known as Northpoint Bible College.
After his arraignment yesterday, Prothro, handcuffed and shackled, was taken from the courtroom and transported to Middleton jail. The judge ordered him to return to court March 22 for a pretrial hearing. Gillespie, asking that Prothro be held without bail, said he poses “obvious safety concerns.”
Noting his failure to appear as ordered in Wareham District Court, the prosecutor said Prothro has shown “obvious disregard for orders of the court.”
Attorney Victoria Ranieri, who represented Prothro during his arraignment, asked that his bail be set at $500. His behavior yesterday morning “is not typical of Mr. Prothro,” she said, adding he is employed as a demolition worker and went into another court on his own to “clear up a matter” in January.
Prothro and his wife are expecting their first child, she said.
“He was scared. ... He was afraid of going back to jail,” Ranieri said of his attempt to flee from police.
Salem Superior Court Judge John Lu, who increased Prothro’s bail from $10,000 to $50,000 shortly after his September 2010 stolen property arrest, noted in court that he had been involved in an “aggravated burglary” case in Kentucky.