Auburn man denies charges in what police call racially charged road rage

Posted Oct. 31, 2013, at 2:51 p.m.
Matthew Libby, left, address Active-Retired Justice Robert Clifford in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn Thursday morning representing his client, Adam J. Getchell, right.  Getchell is accused of making racist remarks and beating on the victim's car in a road rage incident in July.
Russ Dillingham | Sun Journal
Matthew Libby, left, address Active-Retired Justice Robert Clifford in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn Thursday morning representing his client, Adam J. Getchell, right. Getchell is accused of making racist remarks and beating on the victim's car in a road rage incident in July.

AUBURN, Maine — A city man charged in a civil suit with violating Maine’s Civil Rights Act pleaded not guilty Thursday to related criminal charges stemming from what police said was a racially charged road rage incident.

Adam J. Getchell, 30, entered not guilty pleas to two felony and two misdemeanor counts in Androscoggin County Superior Court.

Getchell will continue to be free on his own recognizance and was ordered to have no contact with Matthew Wooten Jr., the man police identified as the victim in the case.

Prosecutors said Getchell spewed racial epithets at Wooten, beat on his car and threw objects at him while the two were driving in traffic in July.

Getchell was charged by an Androscoggin County grand jury with reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and aggravated criminal mischief, each felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Getchell also was charged with intentional interference with civil rights and driving to endanger.

According to a civil complaint filed by the Attorney General’s Office against Getchell, he drove a pickup truck on July 11 in front of a car driven by Matthew Wooten Jr., 19, who was on East Avenue on his way home.

Getchell sped past Wooten, then cut in front of his car repeatedly, the complaint said.

The two continued over the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge toward Auburn. Getchell pulled alongside Wooten and began throwing things, including what appeared to be tools and a bottle of perfume at Wooten, the complaint said.

As Wooten attempted to pass to the right of Getchell, he drove his truck into Wooten’s car, hitting it at the rear of the driver’s side. Wooten struck his head from the impact.

Wooten called 911 on his cellphone and followed Getchell into a parking lot on Center Street. Getchell got out of his truck carrying a club and yelled, “I’ll fight you, n——-!” and used other racial epithets, the complaint said.

Getchell beat the front and trunk of Wooten’s car with the club. A local police officer appeared as Getchell brandished the club. He said Wooten had confronted him and he was trying to defend himself. He continued to use racial slurs as he spoke with the officer, the complaint said. He was arrested and taken away in a cruiser.

Wooten told police Getchell mouthed: “I’m going to kill you,” as he was driven away.

State prosecutors are seeking an injunction against Getchell in an effort to prevent him from having any contact with Wooten.

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