NEWPORT CITY – In the early morning hours of Oct. 24, Newport City Police Officer Richard Wells found Brent McClure, 23, of North Troy, allegedly pursuing Wells.
McClure was in Orleans County District Court Tuesday to the answer to the following charges: 1) Aggravated assault with a weapon against a law enforcement officer; 2) operation of a vehicle to elude a law enforcement officer; 3) reckless or gross negligence operation of a vehicle; 4) reckless endangerment; 5) leaving the scene of a crash with property damage; 6) driving under the influence; and 7) operating with a suspended license. Judge Howard VanBenthuysen set bail at $50,000 bail.
Wells wrote in an affidavit that he left work in his own vehicle at 3 a.m. As he drove on the west side of the city, he saw a small car with fog lights pull up behind him. Police later identified the driver as McClure.
Wells said that McClure would drive up close to the back bumper of his car and then backed off. The car was close enough to Wells’ car that he could not see the headlights.
McClure allegedly rammed his vehicle into the rear of Wells’ vehicle a number of times, at one point sending Wells' vehicle into a ditch. Wells increased the speed of his vehicle to 65 miles per hour and called for help from the state police. Wells said he thought McClure would run him off the road and hurt him. Wells slowed his speed so that he would not get hurt if McClure ran him off the road. He also wanted to give police time to catch up to him.
Wells applied his brakes just enough to see if McClure would back off, but it didn’t work. In North Troy, McClure backed off and turned around. Wells used his police radio to call the police to report McClure changed his direction of travel.
Newport City Police, State Police and Border Patrol agents looked for Wells and finally caught up to him on the Schuler Road in Derby.
State Trooper Debra Munson reported smelling alcohol coming from McClure. McClure reportedly told Munson that he'd had a beer at the American Legion in North Troy. McClure completed field sobriety exercises at the Derby Barracks.
During questioning, Munson said McClure indicated he knew Wells was the driver of the vehicle.
In an separate incident, McClure entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of simple assault by mutual affray.