EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 10, 2013

Officials: 'Thanks-drinking' was one of Port's worst binges

NEWBURYPORT — In the waning hours of Thanksgiving eve, a Newburyport man who was enjoying a high school reunion with friends at Michael’s Harborside was asked to leave by a manager who determined he and one of his friends had too much to drink and were becoming belligerent.

But instead of leaving peacefully, the patron grabbed his beer glass and hurled it at the manager, injuring her in the process, according to Newburyport police.

During the police investigation into the incident, 29-year-old Jonathan Kelley, a dispatcher and call firefighter for the city, denied throwing the glass at the manager but admitted to police he had too much to drink. Earlier this week, Kelley’s assault and battery charge was continued without finding for seven months, meaning if he stays out of trouble, the charge against him will be dropped and his record cleared. He was also ordered to pay $290 in court costs and $11.50 to the manager.

Kelley’s alleged activity was but one of many alcohol-fueled incidents that night that taxed the resources of local police, prompting City Marshal Thomas Howard this week to call that November night one of the more troubling he’s witnessed since assuming command over a decade ago.

Howard said he witnessed numerous incidents around the downtown area that included people lying passed out on the street, throwing up in barrels, people driving the wrong way on Green Street and a woman being dragged down Merrimac Street.

“And that in the matter of less than an hour,” Howard said.

Four people were also cited for under-aged drinking at 11 p.m., Howard added.

Andrea Egmont of the Newburyport Department of Youth Services said she wasn’t surprised Howard witnessed so many drinking-related incidents that night, saying it’s been a problem for years.

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