Salem Budget Committee and Zoning Board of Adjustment member Patrick McDougall pleaded not guilty to a charge of obstructing government administration in the 10th Circuit Court of Salem Monday morning.
McDougall, also a declared candidate for the N.H. House of Representatives as a Republican, appeared briefly in court Monday and did not appear before a judge.
Instead the clerk read the charge, a Class B misdemeanor, which alleges that on June 26 McDougall interfered with paramedics who were attempting to transport his wife, Jane, by ambulance after she'd called 911 complaining of severe pain due to a pre-existing medical condition.
Salem Police have said Patrick McDougall spent nearly an hour arguing with paramedics and police before he drove his wife to the hospital himself. This happened after Jane McDougall called 911 a second time while her husband was arguing.
Patrick McDougall's name was called in court Monday morning and he attempted to approach the court's podium with his wife alongside. A bailiff told McDougall only he would be allowed to approach.
After the clerk read the charge, McDougall was asked how he would plead.
"My wife and I simply refused an ambulance ride, so I plead not guilty," McDougall responded.
He was handed a trial notice and left the courtroom.
Outside, McDougall declined to speak with reporters on the advice of counsel, other than to say his trial date has been set for Sept. 19. McDougall, however, did not appear in court today with an attorney.
McDougall has steadfastly proclaimed his innocence in previous public statements. He stated the incident was "a private matter, we decided to drive ourselves to the hospital," and that he believed he had "the right to say no" in this instance.
Jane McDougall has also defended her husband publicly, saying he was "was concerned about the ambulance bill that we cannot afford" that night and asked for the charge to be dropped.
His trial date is set for eight days after the Sept. 11 state Republican primary. McDougall is one of 12 Salem Republicans vying for nine spots on the November ballot.