June 24, 2018
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Police say Thomaston man rammed wife’s car while children in it

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — A 30-year-old Thomaston man, who was free on bail on a domestic violence assault charge, was arrested again Wednesday morning after allegedly ramming his wife’s car while she and their two children were in it.

Judge Patricia Worth ordered Phillip R. Arsenault held without bail during a hearing Friday afternoon in Rockland District Court. Arsenault was charged with felony domestic violence reckless conduct, two counts of domestic violence assault, driving to endanger, and violating a condition of release.

“I’m concerned about your safety and the safety of others,” Worth said in denying bail for Arsenault.

Last month, Worth had agreed to a request by Arsenault to amend his bail on a March 28 domestic violence charge to allow him to go to his home. Both he and his wife had supported the change to allow him to do auto repair work in his garage and not create a financial hardship for the family.

“The information in this probable cause affidavit makes me second guess my decision,” Worth said.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald pushed for Arsenault to be held without bail, arguing, “This is a very serious situation. This is a public safety matter of the highest level.”

The affidavit filed by Thomaston Police Chief Kevin Haj states that he responded at about 8 a.m. Wednesday to a call about a car crash about on Broadway, about 50 feet from the driveway of the Arsenault home. Haj said that when he arrived he found both Arsenault and his wife in the driveway along with their vehicles. Her 2004 Chevy Tahoe had extensive damage on the passenger side with some front end damage to the suspect’s 2000 Dodge pickup truck.

Phillip Arsenault told the police chief that he was just “screwing off” and had simply attempted to drive in front of his wife’s vehicle when the crash occurred, according to the affidavit.

The couple’s 11- and 2-year-old daughters were in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

The prosecutor said in court Friday that one of the children was pinned in the car temporarily because of the damage to the vehicle.

A second affidavit filed by Thomaston Police Sgt. Tim Hoppe stated that he interviewed the older child, who said the couple had been fighting and that the mother had suffered a neck bruise at the hands of Phillip Arsenault a few days before the crash.

According to the police report from the March 28 incident, the child reported to police that her father held her mother down on the floor and took away her phone.

A hearing to revoke his bail from the March 28 domestic violence assault case is scheduled for May 16.

Attorney William Pagnano, who represented people held in lieu of bail during Friday’s court hearings, unsuccessfully asked for surety bail, arguing that Arsenault was not a flight risk. The attorney said the Thomaston man had strong ties to the community and was employed at a farm equipment store in Union.

Arsenault had been charged with assault against his wife in 2005 but that charge was dismissed in exchange for a guilty plea to disorderly conduct and criminal mischief.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.

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