Eyes peeled

Olivia Belanger / Sentinel Staff

N.H. State Police troopers, shown here on Route 12, were among those who responded last week.

BRATTLEBORO — Prosecutors in Vermont have filed new charges against Zachariah A. McAllister, the Vermont man accused of leading police on a high-speed chase into Walpole that led schools and businesses to lock down last Wednesday.

The charges span two separate cases, one related to alleged drug sales in January. The other, charging him with eluding law enforcement and other offenses, offers new details on how last week’s incident allegedly began. Both cases were filed Friday in Vermont Superior Court’s Windham Criminal Division in Brattleboro.

Police had yet to locate McAllister, 28, of Westminster, as of Monday afternoon, Vermont State Police spokesman Adam Silverman said in an email.

In the drug case, Deputy State’s Attorney Steven M. Brown is seeking to prosecute McAllister under Vermont’s “habitual offender” law, under which a person can be sentenced to up to life in prison after a fourth felony conviction.

According to a notice Brown filed Friday, McAllister has five felony convictions, including aggravated domestic assault in 2017, sale of a hallucinogen in 2013, burglary in 2013 and 2007, and grand larceny in 2007.

Wednesday’s incident began when Brattleboro police received a tip that McAllister was driving a silver Mercedes-Benz and would be leaving a group meeting at an addiction-services provider off Putney Road in town around 10 a.m., according to an affidavit written by Officer Ryan Washburn.

McAllister had an active arrest warrant for missing his August arraignment on a charge of driving on a suspended license dating to July, according to court records. Washburn wrote that he pulled McAllister over in a parking lot on Putney Road.

After the officer told McAllister he was under arrest, McAllister drove off, traveling “well in excess of 65 MPH” in a 25 mile-per-hour zone, Washburn wrote.

At about 10:30 a.m., Cheshire County dispatchers broadcast a be-on-the-lookout alert for McAllister’s vehicle, according to a news release issued that day by Walpole police.

Less than 20 minutes later, Walpole police Officer Roger Landry spotted McAllister traveling more than 100 mph on Route 12, the department said. McAllister attempted to turn onto South Street, crashed into a Nissan Sentra and fled on foot, according to the release. The driver of the Sentra, a 72-year-old woman whose name police did not release, was taken to the hospital, a police department administrator said Wednesday.

The multi-agency search ended around 2:30 p.m. without incident, with McAllister suspected of crossing the Connecticut River into Vermont, according to Walpole police.

McAllister has a history of eluding police, including incidents in 2017 and 2013 in which he evaded authorities for a month or more while wanted on charges, according to court records and news reports. The charges in the 2017 case, which included burglary, were later dropped.

In the drug case filed Friday, authorities charged McAllister with involvement in four sales of fentanyl-containing heroin in January — once in Westminster and three times at an apartment on Westminster Road in Bellows Falls where McAllister lived, according to an affidavit filed by Vermont State Police Detective Trooper Sean Reilly.

McAllister made three of the sales himself, according to Reilly’s affidavit. In the other instance, a woman he knows provided the drugs to a buyer who had arranged the sale with McAllister, Reilly wrote.

Walpole Police Lt. Justin Sanctuary said this morning that eight charges from the department will be filed against McAllister, three of which are felonies.

McAllister also had an arrest warrant in Massachusetts, Vermont State Police said in a news release last week.

Silverman encouraged anyone with information about McAllister to share it with Vermont State Police by calling the Westminster Barracks at 802-722-4600 or going to vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.

Paul Cuno-Booth can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or pbooth@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @PCunoBoothKS.