NORTH ANDOVER — Police arrested two men Thursday afternoon after an off-duty Andover police officer was nearly run over after attempting to apprehend one of the men who was stealing items from the CVS store on Turnpike Street, according to police.
One of the men, James Carter, 48, of 7 Brookline St., Lawrence, was arraigned in Lawrence District Court Friday on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, according to Essex County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Carrie Kimball-Monahan. Carter pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The other man was Derek McGrail, 27, of 365 Pelham St., Methuen. Kimball-Monahan said McGrail was with Carter at the time of the incident, and although he was not formally charged with any crime involving the incident, he had several outstanding warrants, including breaking and entering and shoplifting.
"Mr. McGrail was with Mr. Carter at the time, but was not arraigned on Friday," Kimball-Monahan said. "He is being held on those warrants."
According to North Andover Police Lt. E.J. Foulds, Carter was carrying several items inside CVS when the Andover officer noticed him attempting to conceal a bottle of baby formula inside his jacket. Foulds said the officer approached Carter, who immediately left the store.
"As (Carter) was running, items were dropping out of his pockets and jacket," Foulds said. "The officer followed him into the parking lot, where he jumped into a blue minivan with Florida license plates, where McGrail was sitting in the passenger seat. The officer then told him to stop, but he backed up behind her and attempted to run her over."
The officer jumped out of the way as the minivan backed up and sped away on Route 114, according to Foulds. She suffered no injuries. The officer alerted both North Andover and Andover police to look out for the vehicle, and shortly thereafter, the state police were notified as well. An area-wide broadcast was sent out altering officers in Andover and North Andover to stop the blue minivan if they saw it.
Four hours after the initial incident, state police located the van on Route 495 near Route 128, according to Foulds. Both Carter and McGrail were arrested at the scene.
Carter's bail was set at $500 cash. He has been scheduled to appear back in court for a pre-trial hearing on April 27.
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