A Rhode Island man has been sentenced to jail time on charges stemming from a high-speed chase in April that ended in Keene when his car got stuck in a muddy lawn.
Jacob C. Lima, 19, of Manville, R.I., pleaded guilty last month in Cheshire County Superior Court to possessing a stolen firearm, a felony; and criminal mischief and disobeying an officer, both misdemeanors.
Lima was sentenced to one year in jail, with half the sentence suspended on condition of good behavior. He was credited for about four months served while awaiting the resolution of his case. He also received a suspended prison sentence of 2½ to 5 years.
On April 21 around 11 p.m., Lima was driving north on Route 12 in Swanzey in a red Honda Civic when N.H. State Police Trooper Zachary S. Bernier clocked him going 55 in a 30-miles-per-hour zone, Bernier wrote in an affidavit.
Bernier activated his blue lights, but Lima accelerated, Bernier wrote.
According to the affidavit, Lima continued up Route 12, ran a red light and turned left onto Route 101, where he sped up to 80 miles per hour. At the next roundabout, seeing another trooper approaching, Lima turned north onto Winchester Street and ran another red light to turn left onto Key Road, Bernier wrote.
Key Road dead-ends in an apartment complex. “The operator realized the road was a dead-end and attempted to circle back to Key Road by driving onto the grass behind one of the apartment buildings,” Bernier wrote. “The vehicle traveled for a few hundred feet before getting stuck in the mud.”
Lima and a passenger quickly got out of the vehicle and fled on foot, while another passenger — a 17-year-old — put his hands on his head and lay down on the ground, Bernier wrote.
Keene police and state troopers soon caught Lima and the other passenger, Matthew Durand, 25, of Attleboro, Mass., according to the affidavit. A state trooper had seen Durand, a convicted felon, toss a handgun as he fled, Bernier wrote.
When police interviewed him at the Cheshire County jail, according to the affidavit, Lima said he had bought the firearm knowing it was stolen, and Durand had taken it only to protect him from being charged.
Lima said he had been driving his 17-year-old friend to family in Vermont, and they had picked up Durand in Woonsocket, R.I., because he needed a ride, Bernier wrote.
Lima “stated that if no one else was in the car that he cared about, he would have come out shooting and stated, ‘You would have had to kill me,’ ” Bernier wrote.
Durand told police he had felony convictions for domestic violence and assault with a dangerous weapon, and had gotten out of prison less than two months earlier, according to the affidavit.
Durand is charged with falsifying physical evidence, a felony, for allegedly tossing the firearm. According to court records, he failed to appear for a hearing in June.
The 17-year-old was released to his family without charges.