By John Toole email@example.com
---- — A Hillsborough County jury has convicted a Windham man of second-degree assault and reckless conduct in a road rage case in Pelham last year.
Cody Eller, 20, faces up to seven years in prison and could be fined up to $4,000 on each charge.
Sentencing will be scheduled later, the court clerk’s office said yesterday.
The jury, after a trial last week in Nashua, found Eller not guilty of the more serious charge of first-degree assault. Conviction on that charge could have resulted in a 71/2- to 15-year prison term.
Eller had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Motorcyclist William Hawksley, 47, of Brentwood suffered a serious injury to his right leg in the traffic accident on Windham Road near the Windham town line in May 2011.
Eller was accused of veering the Ford Fusion sedan he was driving into the passing Kawaski motorcycle Hawksley was riding.
“I wasn’t going to let him pass me,” Eller told Pelham Master Patrolman Eugene Stahl, according to court records.
Eller’s lawyers had questioned whether Eller understood what Stahl was asking because of a language disability they cited in court records.
The incident happened about 4:30 a.m. Eller’s lawyers said in court records there was no evidence Eller was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash.
They questioned whether crash evidence supported the charges brought against Eller.
Eller, a month after the traffic accident, had raised with a reconstruction investigator the possibility an oncoming SUV was a factor in the crash, court records showed.
A state trooper who reviewed the Pelham police investigation concluded there was no credible evidence to support the SUV theory.
Pelham police prosecutor Dennis Mannion told reporters after Eller’s arraignment it was among the worst cases of road rage he had handled in more than 15 years in law enforcement.
“I haven’t seen anything like this,” Mannon said at the time.
Motorcyclists had taken an interest in the prosecution of Eller and were following the case. Some showed up outside 10th Circuit Court in Salem for one of his scheduled court appearances and his lawyers said in court papers Eller had received multiple threats to his safety.
Hawksley could not be reached for comment about the court decision.