Man who rammed cruisers sentenced
By Eric Blaisdell
STAFF WRITER | August 23,2013
BARRE — The Granite City man who drunkenly smashed his Jeep into two police cruisers last summer and told one officer, “Yeah, that was me that hit you. ... I hate all you cops” has been sentenced for the crime.
Nicholas E. Reynolds, 33, was sentenced to two to 10 years in prison on a felony conviction of aggravated assault with a weapon, as well as convictions for driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, and gross and negligent operation Thursday in Washington County criminal court.
Both officers involved in the incident gave statements to the court before Reynolds was sentenced.
Barre Town Officer Benjamin Hammond, a veteran, said that night was the most scared he had ever been in his life, which includes tours of active duty and working on an aircraft carrier — a place he said is one of the most dangerous to work. Hammond said the accident also had an effect on his family. He said his son and wife were scared after the crash.
“Every day she asks me, ‘When is this going to be over? When is (Reynolds) going to jail?’ I didn’t have an answer for her. I’m hoping today is that day,” Hammond said.
Hammond suffered burns on his arms from the air bags deploying and whiplash as a result of the crash.
Barre City Police Officer Anthony Amaral was the driver of the other cruiser involved, although he was outside the vehicle at the time of the incident. Amaral noted that Reynolds had his conditions of release for this case altered so he could see his children.
“The one thing I want Nick (Reynolds) to know is that he’s not the only father standing here,” Amaral said.
According to court documents, Barre city and town police had responded to a report of a fight at Highgate Apartments in July 2012. Hammond did not see a fight and was leaving the area on Skyline Drive when he saw Reynolds driving down Prospect Street with his headlights off.
Hammond said he turned on his blue lights to stop the Jeep and Reynolds then turned on his headlights and accelerated into the cruiser, damaging its front end.
Police said Reynolds then drove along Skyline Drive and smashed into the back of Amaral’s unoccupied cruiser, which had been in service for only two weeks.
Reynolds then got out of the Jeep and tried to run away, but Amaral tackled him and took him into custody.
When they arrived at the first crash site, Hammond said, according to the affidavit, Reynolds yelled out the car window at him, “Yeah, that was me that hit you. ... I hate all you cops.”
“We seem to call all collisions accidents,” State’s Attorney Tom Kelly said at the hearing Thursday. “But this doesn’t appear to be any accident.”
Reynolds’ attorney Maggie Vincent said this incident was the worst night of Reynolds’ life. She said that although Reynolds has a lengthy criminal history, including a felony grand larceny conviction and 27 misdemeanors including driving under the influence and domestic assault, he has not had any criminal conduct since 2005. Vincent said Reynolds has no memory of what happened that night and was shocked when he was presented with the evidence against him.
Reynolds then apologized to the officers.
“I can’t even express to you guys how sorry I am that this happened. ... I couldn’t agree with your guys’ wives any more. This just needs to be over. I want to go to jail. I want to do my time and get on with my life,” he said while holding back tears.