Man who crashed into three police cars tries for lower bail
By JAMES A. KIMBLE Union Leader Correspondent
BRENTWOOD — A Salem man who struck three police cruisers and injured two officers during a March 21 pursuit wants a judge to lower his $1.5 million cash bail before he faces potential state prison time in a prior drug case.
Luis Figueroa, 30, made a brief appearance Friday in Rockingham County Superior Court to argue why he should be freed on lower bail.
Friday’s hearing was ultimately cancelled because Figueroa’s lawyer failed to appear. But prosecutors expect they will soon be back in court to argue that Figueroa should remain jailed pending his next court date in Hillsborough County Superior Court.
On May 6, Hillsborough County prosecutors will ask a judge to impose part of a 4- to 15-year prison term that Figueroa received in 2008 after being convicted of five counts of sale of a controlled drug for selling heroin and cocaine.
He also faces up to a year in jail from a 2012 Salem case where he fled from police who responded to his home for a domestic disturbance. Figueroa had received a suspended 12-month jail sentence after pleading guilty to charges of reckless conduct, endangering the welfare of a child and disobeying a police officer. In Rockingham County, Figueroa is facing 16 charges including second-degree assault, conduct after an accident, aggravated drunken driving and drug charges.
Salem police went searching for Figueroa’s white Mercedes Benz on March 21 at 9:46 p.m. after two people reported that the driver was all over the road while driving along Interstate 93, according to court records.
Drivers had followed the vehicle off Exit 1 onto Route 28 and called 911.
Salem police Officer Michael McCarthy located Figueroa’s car stopped in the middle of Tiffany Road, near an apartment complex, blocking both lanes of traffic, Assistant County Attorney Brad Bolton said in a court motion.
Figueroa was asleep in the driver’s seat, Bolton said. McCarthy ordered Figueroa to put his vehicle in park, but instead he sped away.
The pursuit ended after Figueroa allegedly hit three Salem police cruisers, hitting two of them head on. He was removed from his car after he struck the third police car.
One officer suffered a concussion, another injured his neck during the pursuit.
Police found 100 Alprazolam and Oxycodone pills in Figueroa’s right front pocket. His wallet had $1,404 in cash and two small bags containing more pills, according to Bolton.
Figueroa was taken to a local hospital after his arrest, telling police he had snorted six Xanax pills and six Percocet tablets.
During a search of Figueroa’s car, police found $4,085 in cash in the trunk and five cell phones in the front seat, according to Bolton.
Prosecutors want to keep Figueroa jailed, citing his long criminal record in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
“In Massachusetts, the defendant had 31 arraignments between 2001 and 2006,” Bolton said in court papers. “The record check shows 19 defaults or warrants issued on nine different court dates.”