Man allegedly beaten by former Salem police officer sentenced for pursuit
BRENTWOOD — A man allegedly assaulted by a former Salem police officer moments after being arrested for a high-speed chase along Interstate 93 and through Salem was sentenced on Thursday to a year in jail.
Thomas Templeton, 40, of York, Maine, pleaded guilty in Rockingham County Superior Court to a felony count of reckless conduct and a misdemeanor resisting arrest charge.
Templeton, who has served 172 days in county jail, will serve a 12-month sentence for the felony charge. He received a second 12-month sentence that will be deferred if he remains on good behavior.
His plea deal allowed him to avoid facing up to 3 ½ to 7 years in state prison for the reckless conduct conviction.
Templeton will likely be a key witness in the case against Joseph Freda, a former Salem police officer, who is charged with striking Templeton in the head with a flashlight and stepping on his hands while Templeton was handcuffed and seated on the ground. The alleged assault happened moments after a state trooper and Windham police sergeant had arrested Templeton on Oct. 6, 2013.
Assistant County Attorney Brad Bolton said on Thursday that Windham police Sgt. Bryan Bliss first noticed Templeton driving erratically sometime before 1:50 a.m.
"He caught up to him at a gas station," Bolton said, where Templeton asked the officer where he could get cash for some gas.
Bliss had run Templeton's license plate and learned there was a warrant for his arrest, Bolton said. When Templeton was asked for his registration, he took off in his black Jeep Cherokee.
Bolton said Templeton drove between 90 to 100 mph as he fled southbound on Interstate 93 to Exit 2 and through Salem. State Trooper Andrew Monaco took over the pursuit once it reached the interstate.
Templeton was apprehended in a wooded area near the Massachusetts state line.