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No Verdict in McDougall Obstruction Case

Salem elected official facing a charge related to a June incident at his home.

Salem Circuit Court Judge Michael Sullivan did not issue a verdict in the obstructing government administration trial of Salem Budget Committee and Zoning Board of Adjustment Patrick McDougall Monday.

Sullivan heard a couple hours of testimony Monday and took the testimony under advisement.

McDougall was charged in July on the misdemeanor charge after an incident that took place in June involving his wife, Jane, who was suffering from a migraine headache and called 911 at their Tiffany Road home.

McDougall is alleged to have argued with responding Salem Fire personnel, and later Salem Police, regarding an ambulance ride to a hospital. Jane McDougall called 911 a second time regarding the need to go to a hospital, and eventually Patrick McDougall drove her to the hospital himself.

The charge was recently elevated to a Class A misdemeanor and carries up to a $2,000 fine and a year in prison.

The witnesses testifying Monday included Salem Fire dispatcher and former Fire Capt. Daniel Breton, Salem firefighter Bradley Palmer, Salem Police officers Matt Norcross and Scott Naismith, Salem Fire Chief Kevin Breen as well as Jane McDougall. Patrick McDougall did not take the stand.

Palmer, Norcross and Naismith were on the scene the night of the incident.

The most emotional testimony was offered by Jane McDougall, who had to stop several times while answering questions from Salem Police prosecutor Jason Grosky to compose herself.

She said several times the reason her husband did not want Salem Fire to transport her in the ambulance was because of the cost associated with the ride due to the family's lack of health insurance.

"We can't afford an ambulance bill," McDougall said. "I wanted to get to the hospital, I wanted to get to the hospital to get the medicine."

The tape of the second 911 call was played in court and McDougall confirmed it was her voice on the recording.

Grosky asked McDougall if she agreed she shouldn't have needed to call 911 twice to get her husband to drive her to the hospital and she agreed.

She also admitted to apologizing to Police and Fire outside her home after the incident, because, as Grosky stated using Jane McDougall's own words, "He was acting like an '(expletive).'"

McDougall's attorney, Neil Reardon, immediately objected to Grosky's comment before Grosky clarified that was Jane McDougall's own word.

The episode caused McDougall to sob on the witness stand.

"Please, I don't want to do this anymore," she said. She later confirmed she had used an expletive to describe her husband's actions that night.

Reardon later asked McDougall if her husband as a "calming effect" on her, to which she agreed.

Palmer testified there was originally no response at the door when he arrived on scene with fellow Salem firefighter Nate Breton. 

Eventually Patrick McDougall did come to the door and speak to Breton and Palmer in a hallway outside his apartment. Palmer testified after a short time McDougall went back into his apartment, closing the door in him.

"That's a lie," McDougall said while Palmer was testifying.

McDougall was scolded by Sullivan for his outburst, saying that if it happened again "you'll be in a remote location." McDougall apologized to Sullivan.

During the June incident, Palmer described Patrick McDougall as being "irritable" but said upon questioning from Reardon that McDougall never yelled or used profanity that night, which was consistent with other testimony from those on scene.

Norcross said upon questioning from Grosky that McDougall was not charged that night with obstructing government administration because they were concerned about his wife getting the help she needed, as well as the need to allow Patrick McDougall to stay with the couple's child.

Also, Norcross said he needed time to research and make sure the charge against McDougall would be the correct one.

"In my 19 years as a police officer, that's the first time I've ever charged anyone with that," Norcross said.

It was noted several times in court that McDougall told the responders that night an ambulance ride would cost him $800, but Breen said that was "overstated" given his understanding of the situation.

Breen also said he'd personally guided McDougall through the ambulance fee abatement process in the past which including for a ride he said took place in 2007.

On several occasions, Reardon brought up to witnesses McDougall's often biting public critiques of the budgets of the Police and Fire Departments, and witnesses acknowledged that to varying degrees.

Reardon and McDougall declined to comment on the proceedings after court was adjourned.

 one involving Breen and the other when Salem Police were attempting to serve McDougall's wife with a subpoena on the misdemeanor.

McDougall faces three felony witness tampering charges and misdemeanors of criminal threatening and disorderly conduct from those incidents.

SalemResident December 11, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Gee someone criticizes the SPD and then they get arrested and charged with a bunch of trumped up BS ... sounds really familiar ...
Jeff Hatch December 11, 2012 at 02:17 AM
There's no winners here, just loosers. Pat, his wife, SPD, SFD, the town. I hope this ends soon.
F Jackie Marlow December 11, 2012 at 11:06 AM
I'm guessing that by the time this and the felony trials are over, the $800 ambulance ride will look like chicken feed compared to the legal bill he gets. Regardless of the out come here, one would hope that he has learned a lesson on how one should behave. But, only time will tell.
Love NH December 11, 2012 at 04:29 PM
So what happens now? Does the judge come out with a verdict whenever he feels like it or is there normally a time table?
Jake O'Donnell December 11, 2012 at 06:22 PM
A couple of reminders: 1. People are innocent until proven guilty, so I ask people keep that in mind when they make their comments. I cannot make an assumption in my reporting on criminal cases and I ask people also to not make assumptions until a verdict is rendered. 2. As always, please keep your comments appropriate in terms of language and refrain from personal, unsubstantiated attacks. I am monitoring comments on these articles very closely and anything objectionable will be rejected. 3. If I have rejected a comment of yours and you'd like an explanation please e-mail me directly at jake.odonnell@patch.com and I'd be happy to discuss it further. Please keep comments on this article to the subject of the article itself. Thanks.
SalemResident December 12, 2012 at 12:22 AM
What exactly is a looser? Is that someone who is more loose than someone else? I'm really confused ...
SalemResident December 12, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Hey Jimmy ... First of all let me just say you really should head back to school and take some basic English classes. You fell bad for his wife? Really? I'm not sure that falling for someone else's wife is appropriate. In fact some may consider it rather rude. McDougall did, in fact, give her a ride to the hospital so do yourself a favor and stop spreading lies. Legally that is libel and I am sure that McDougall would love to have his lawyer send you a nice letter. In fact secretly I hope he does. Where was it ever published that he went or had to go to an anger management class? I guess everyone but you missed that tid bit huh? You and several others need to really wake up to what is going on here. You can not force people to take ambulance rides. Fun Fact: His wife signed papers refusing the ride, and any treatment, and did so of her own free will. Since the money seems to be no object to you why don't you donate it to someone who needs it? Maybe to a local charity? After all you are way up there on that pedestal of yours so you won't really even notice right? You should really know when you be quiet Jim. This is one of those times.
SalemResident December 12, 2012 at 01:27 AM
The judge has a lot of ... shall we say ... bull feces ... to wade through. Mostly that the charges are trumped up, with little to no supporting evidence, and that it appears as though the SPD and SFD did a pretty good job screwing this up. While a conviction would make the SPD and SFD happy it is the wrong thing to do. On the other hand even a judge may be afraid of the repercussions of going against the good ol' boys club in town. They have made it pretty clear what happens when they don't like you. Fortunately for us normal citizens the last time I checked McDougall's attorney hit the nail on the head when he said, and I quote" “being abrasive, being loud and being negative is not a crime." "Officer Scott Naismith described McDougall as “very arrogant” during the confrontation." Also not a crime. “He was just explaining to them that we don’t have any insurance,” Also not a crime. Norcross characterized Patrick McDougall as “very agitated” in his conversations with police and firefighters. ALSO NOT A CRIME. "Naismith told McDougall he could drive his wife to the hospital himself." So ... "Permission" was basically given for McDougall to transport his wife himself. NOT A CRIME! “He flickered his fingers and told us, ‘You’re all dismissed now,’” Norcross testified. - Guess what ... NOT A CRIME!!! Are you all noticing the trend yet???
james thomas December 12, 2012 at 03:44 AM
To salem resident im sorry you couldnt figure out what i was saying about feeling bad for mr McDougalls wife crying in court and everything the lady is going through and i never said he didnt give her a ride to the hospital something he should have done befor she had to call 911 and as far as angermanagement i never said i read that anywere i said i think he needs to take that coarse now if you read the article you will see he disrupted the court 3 times so im giving my opinon isnt what this is for so people can give there opinons its called freedom of speach ya my english might not be the best but 99 percent of the people know what i meant your 1 percent dont count please read 3 times befor you comment so you know what your saying
Rusty December 12, 2012 at 10:08 AM
I really think that this thing should end soon. It is getting to the ridiculous stage. How much money has been spent on both sides on this case? The McDougall's clearly have some personal issuses but that's what they are-- personal. Get this thing out of court, it's a waste of everyone's time and money.
Shirley Borrelli December 12, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Dear Salem Resident ::: Show your real name hiding behind (((Salem Residents)))) . U don't want anyone to know your name .This page is for ((((opinions and freedom of speech..So get off your high horse.. U must be friends with McDougall or relative to stand by him ,when U know everything he did was wrong. His poor wife in PAIN and refused the medical treatment she needed at the time .He did not make the call she did . Spending all our tax money on this .END THIS !!!!!
Patrick McDougall December 12, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Folks let me make something perfectly clear my wife recieved medical care from the moment they arrived I assisted the paramedics with her care after the determination was made by the SFD paramedics they said she was fine and there was no immediate medical concern. that was when I expressed my oposition to taking her by ambulance do to the insurance concern I offered to drive her myself at her request, like I have done days before this incident. The reason why my wife cried on the stand is because the police and prosecutor are terrorizing my family because they dislike me and my political beliefs and are attempting to humiliate me. So please get your facts straight and understand how this is effecting my family!
Riley Reid December 12, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I wasn't going to comment on any of this as like Jeff said, there are no winners, our town doesn't need this and our police and fire personnel have better things to be doing. However, I do want to tell you Mr McDougall that I am so tired of reading your comments where you blame the Police, the Prosecutor, Fire officials, and etc for terrorizing, harassing and all the other things you claim because of your politics or positions on boards. At the end of the day the reality is that all these shenanigans you have been involved in here in Salem all started with YOUR ACTIONS AND YOUR CHOICES. Just the testimony by 19yr police veteran Officer Norcross that this is the first time he's ever charged anyone with this crime speaks volumes.
james thomas December 12, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Just in for lunch and i read what you said pat i do feel better knowing your side of the story what you have to remember we can only or i can only go by what i was reading in the newspaper im not trying to hurt you or your wife i dont know you as a person only what i read what i dont understand is why you and the court couldnt come to an agreement so this would end im sure with the holidays you would rather spend time with your family than in court again im glad you came out to let people hear your side not just what we read in the paper hope your wife feels better
SalemResident December 13, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Good job backpedaling. Keep up the great spelling and grammar ... Seriously go learn some basic spelling and grammar.
SalemResident December 13, 2012 at 03:16 AM
It amuses me that you talk about freedom of speech yet you attack me for things that I say. Things that happen to be factual instead of a bunch of verbal diarrhea. I am not friends with McDougall nor am I "stand[ing] by him" in any fashion. Nothing the guy did was a crime. Plain and simple. Reaching is the world's largest understatement when they charged him with "obstructing government administration" Also you have to see something really wrong with charging someone with felony witness tampering when the person being named as a witness admitted under oath that he was not a witness. Gee ... that doesn't sound right to me! Does it somehow make sense to you "Shirley" whatever your real name is? You don't want to spend tax money on it but yet you seem to not understand how that works. The SPD trumping up charges, and dragging this guy through the mud is wasting more money than anything else. There are a bunch of pill heads, junkies, addicts, thieves, shoplifters, drunks, and crazy murdering lunatics in Salem but the PD will focus on the guy that dared to question their ridiculous budget proposals?! COME ON!!! WAKE UP!!! "In my 19 years as a police officer, that's the first time I've ever charged anyone with that," Norcross said.
SalemResident December 13, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Yep. It certainly does speak volumes. To me it proves how ridiculous this is and that the charges are completely trumped up. Anyone who has or knows someone who has dared to question the cowboys down at the station can tell you what happens afterwards. This is just another example. If you don't see that the SPD and SFD have a vendetta against this guy ... you should really do some re-evaluation of your outlook on things. Get on track and get with the program.
Jake O'Donnell December 13, 2012 at 03:20 AM
I'd like everyone to try and focus their comments on the subject of the article, and the case itself, instead of focusing on other commenters. It is not furthering the discussion to go after others. Thanks.
Jake O'Donnell December 13, 2012 at 03:43 AM
I'm also going to ask the people discontinue making claims, such as "Anyone who has or knows someone who has dared to question the cowboys down at the station can tell you what happens afterwards" unless you have specific proof to back it up. I'm going to reject any comment that makes that kind of supposition from here on out.
james thomas December 13, 2012 at 03:16 PM
why do people keep saying trumped up charges ? one charge of obstruction that never would of been brought had he just brought his wife when she asked as far as the other cases that was brought upon himself after getting writen warning to stay away from witnesses in the first case one person acts as if the salem police pulled him out of line at market basket and put false charges on him the court will decide what the outcome will be not the salem PD
SalemResident December 14, 2012 at 12:51 AM
I do have proof. I have been a witness and I have been a victim of the abuse. To be frank: It isn't worth risking my life over. Been there, done that.
Jake O'Donnell December 15, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Name calling is not permitted in comments on Salem Patch. I just rejected a comment that contained one. Thanks.
Tim McCarthy December 16, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Let's all get on with our lives! He didn't commit a crime so it is time to move on!
Tim McCarthy December 16, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Jake, Thank you! People are innocent until proven guilty. I hope and pray this all gets resolved so everyone can get this off our minds and enjoy the company of our loved ones! The holiday season is here and we have all gone through a tragic loss these last few days. We are neighbors, friends, brothers and sisters. It is time to mend fences and be glad we are all here. I hope and pray we all have a Merry Christmas or be happy in however you celebrate this season! Peace be with all of you!
F Jackie Marlow December 17, 2012 at 04:01 PM
1. People are innocent until proven guilty. 2. McDougall has be proven guilty 3. Time to resign from public office.

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