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Mass. man facing charges drops claim moped is not a motor vehicle


BRENTWOOD - A Massachusetts man accused of driving into oncoming traffic near Route 28 in Salem and setting off a police pursuit has dropped his claim that no motor vehicle laws were broken because he was driving a moped.

Rafael Tejada, 27, of Lawrence, Mass. asked a judge to cancel a hearing set to determine whether evidence in his case could have been thrown out of court.

Tejada maintained that police weren't legally justified in stopping him on July 30 for not wearing protective eyewear because he was riding a moped, not a motorcycle.

Prosecutors argued that the engine's piston displacement - in excess of 50 cc's - indeed made it a motorcycle.

Public defender Devens Hamlen withdrew the motion contesting Tejada being stopped by police just prior to a Feb. 22 hearing in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Hamlen said in court papers he withdrew the court motion after consulting with his client, and prosecutors.

Tejada faces two felony reckless conduct charges and eight misdemeanors filed in the wake of his alleged flight from Salem police.

His trial is set for April 1, but he still has time to hammer out a plea deal with prosecutors by late March.

Salem police Officer Brian Routhier attempted to pull over Tejada as he was headed eastbound on Cluff Crossing Road.

When the officer activated his cruiser lights and siren, Tejada allegedly sped off and crossed over a double yellow line into oncoming traffic, according to police. He entered the Shaw's Plaza through the exit lane, police said.

Police officers dispatched to the scene caught up to Tejada in the parking lot and ordered him to stop.

He allegedly jumped a curb to get out of the parking lot and drove on a nearby railroad bed.

Police lost sight of him.

A short time later other cruisers in the area spotted him southbound on Route 28. Officers followed him onto Cluff Crossing Road and into the Brook Village West Apartments where police say he went off the paved parking lot and darted in front of a cruiser.

One officer had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting Tejada. A second cruiser following the officer rear-ended the lead police car, prosecutors said.

Tejada then drove into some brush and crashed at low speed before being apprehended, police said.

jkimble@newstote.com

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