TOWNSEND — The town is contacting the Department of Justice and a federal judge about an incident in which someone tried to run Town Administrator James Kreidler Jr. off the road while he was driving from a meeting last week, Selectman Gordon Clark said Tuesday night.
Clark did not name anyone specific as the victim of the alleged incident, but when asked after the Board of Selectmen meeting, Kreidler confirmed he is the one Clark was referring to.
Speaking after the meeting, Kreidler confirmed that after he left the meeting last week, a vehicle followed him closely as he drove from Townsend into Ashby and attempted to run him off the road. He declined to comment on the matter further on Wednesday.
Ashby Police Chief Fred Alden confirmed that his department was investigating a complaint “including tailgating and other motor vehicle-related offenses or operations.” His department is searching for the driver of the other vehicle, and has been in touch with Townsend police on the matter. Alden declined to comment further.
The alleged incident occurred on June 21 following an executive-session meeting, which is closed to the public. Clark said he can’t say what was discussed during that session, but said the timing of the incident was close enough to suggest they are related.
“This greatly concerns me because it could be taken as intimidating a plaintiff” or a witness, said Clark. He did not say if he was referring to the lawsuit filed this month by Kelly Merrill and her boyfriend, Adam Cotty, after former Police Department members conducted a background check on them after Merrill was hired as the town administrator’s clerk.
The state Department of Criminal Justice Information Services later concluded the police background checks were done “for no official criminal justice purpose.” This lead selectmen to fire Police Chief Robert Eaton in April, fanning the flames of resentment between some residents and Selectmen Clark and Cindy King.
Attempts to hold recall elections for Clark and King were thwarted earlier this month by Middlesex Superior Court Justice Garry Inge, who said the recall petitions failed to show the selectmen had committed any of the transgressions listed in the local ordinance that are required to hold recall elections.
Clark said last week’s meeting ended around midnight and when it was done, he personally witnessed a Townsend resident waving around a manilla envelope outside, saying “in a loud threatening manner” that it contained compromising information. Clark said the resident used a “slanderous tone” and “threatened an employee of Mr. Kreidler’s office and Mr. Kreidler.”
Thirty minutes after the meeting, Clark said, someone attempted to intimidate a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Clark said they have involved both Ashby and Townsend police, and that he was contacting the Department of Justice and “Judge Wolf.” He may have been referring to Justice Mark L. Wolf, the senior judge of the U.S. District Court.
Chris Lisinski contributed to this report.