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Published: September 10, 2008 05:30 am ShareThisPrintThis
Man with lengthy record jailed after late-night chase
By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

BEVERLY - A Beverly man with a six-page criminal record that includes attempted arson of a Salem apartment building is facing charges after a police chase through parts of downtown Beverly late Monday night.
Freedom Weymouth, 29, of 24 Grant St. pleaded not guilty to charges that include failing to stop for police, driving to endanger, driving after license suspension, speeding and resisting arrest during his arraignment yesterday in Salem District Court.
A Beverly patrolman spotted a car speeding on Rantoul Street around 11:30 p.m. Monday, prosecutor Jane Prince told a judge. When the car, allegedly driven by Weymouth, made a sudden "hard" left turn onto Railroad Avenue, police turned on their blue lights, trying to get the car to stop.
At the time, passengers were getting off an MBTA commuter train nearby and police were concerned for their safety, Prince told Judge Robert Cornetta.
The car continued speeding and running stop signs, eventually ending up on Elliott Street. At one point, the car stopped, backed up and then went down Grant Street and onto Ropes Street.
Weymouth bailed out of the car and ran off, prosecutors said. He was found behind 22 Ropes St., where he put up a struggle, elbowing an officer and resisting until he was sprayed with pepper spray, the prosecutor said.
Prince urged the judge to set $10,000 bail in the case, pointing to Weymouth's record and history of not showing up for court, which she called "extraordinary."
Defense lawyer Paul Woods Jr. said Weymouth was "panicking" because he knew he had "some license issues."
Putting him in jail, Woods argued, would prevent him from paying child support and dealing with some custody issues involving his three children.
Woods also said his client had been having trouble getting prescriptions for medications for "mental health issues" filled recently.
Cornetta set bail at $7,500 cash. It was not clear whether Weymouth would be able to come up with that amount yesterday.
In 2001, Weymouth was sentenced to three to four years in state prison for the attempted arson of a North Street apartment house where he suspected his former girlfriend was staying.
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