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Driver charged with biting state trooper on I-93

Union Leader Correspondent

March 14. 2014 9:45PM
Sean McGurk 

BRENTWOOD — A stranded motorist along Interstate 93 in Salem is now facing charges that he bit the finger of a New Hampshrie State Police trooper and drew blood before running off to a nearby home where he stole a car and fled to Massachusetts, prosecutors said.

Sean McGurk, 42, of Concord is facing an enhanced simple assault charge for biting state Trooper James Powers' finger, leaving him on the roadside dazed and injured on Dec. 21, prosecutors said.

Biting Powers could land McGurk in state prison for two to five years if he is convicted by a jury, according to court documents.

McGurk was being held at Rockingham County jail in Brentwood on $150,000 cash bail on charges related to the incident.

He is expected to waive arraignment on the new assault charge in Rockingham County Superior Court on Wednesday.

A grand jury also indicted him on charges of resisting arrest, theft by unauthorized taking and two counts of operating after being certified as a habitual offender.

Powers first stopped along the Interstate 93 to assist McGurk because he was struggling to get his car started, according to prosecutors.

When it became apparent that the vehicle would not start, the trooper volunteered to call a tow truck for McGurk, and asked for his driver's license and registration.

McGurk told police he did not have his wallet with him and went looking for documents in his vehicle, but Powers noticed that McGurk had a wallet in his back pocket, prosecutors said.

McGurk continued looking for documents in his car, and at one point tried to flee from Powers.

The trooper chased him down and tackled him, and had used his Taser and pepper sprayed as the two struggled along the roadside.

Powers was bitten while he was trying to handcuff McGurk, prosecutors said.

State troopers and Salem police found Powers along the interstate a short time later. They tracked McGurk's footprints through the snow leading them to a home on Brady Avenue in Salem where a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am had just been stolen, prosecutors said. McGurk was found two days later staying at a motel in Massachusetts just a short distance from where the car was abandoned in a Marshall's store parking lot, prosecutors said.

McGurk has a criminal history that includes convictions for reckless conduct, conduct after an accident, burglary, resisting arrest, theft and falsifying physical evidence.

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