Mass. Deputy Fire Chief Accused of Road Rage

BROCKTON, Mass. -- A Brockton clerk-magistrate will decide whether criminal charges should be brought against a deputy fire chief accused of trying to use his vehicle to force another driver into oncoming traffic during a road rage incident...


BROCKTON, Mass. --

A Brockton clerk-magistrate will decide whether criminal charges should be brought against a deputy fire chief accused of trying to use his vehicle to force another driver into oncoming traffic during a road rage incident.

Michael F. Williams, 45, of 77 Hillcrest Ave., Brockton, was summonsed to Brockton District Court on Friday on charges of negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failing to yield at an intersection stemming from a March 29 accident on Route 18 in Whitman.

Williams was part of a hearing before Clerk Magistrate Kevin Creedon on Friday that included Whitman Police Sgt. Sean Reynolds and the other driver involved in the incident, Jim Pitts, 54, of Cumberland, R.I.

The closed-door hearing lasted less than 15 minutes, and Creedon has taken the case under advisement, Reynolds said.

The timetable on a decision varies, but it could come next week.

Pitts accused Williams of intentionally driving his pickup truck into the side of his SUV several times in an attempt to “push me into oncoming traffic,” he said after the hearing. It wasn’t clear what started the incident.

The impact forced Williams’ truck off the road and into a small tree, Pitts said.

“It was definitely a road rage incident,” said Pitts, who added that he wasn’t injured in the accident. “It pretty much scared the (expletive) out of me. I was very upset when I got out of the car.”

Pitts, who said he was in Whitman visiting his girlfriend, said it was only after the accident that he learned of Williams’ position at the Brockton Fire Department.

“I just don’t want this swept under the rug,” he said.

A reporter and photographer from The Enterprise entered the hearing Thursday morning, prompting the clerk magistrate to ask Williams if he would allow the media to attend the hearing. Both sides in such a hearing must consent to it being public.

“They’re here for me?” Williams asked. “No, I don’t feel comfortable.”

The reporter and photographer were then asked to leave. After the hearing concluded, Williams, who appeared by himself in court, declined to speak as he left.

“I don’t have any comment,” he said.

Williams started with the Brockton Fire Department in 1986 and was elevated to one of the city’s six deputy chief positions in 2006, said Fire Capt. Jeff Gillpatrick. Williams made $134,792 in 2009.

Deputy chief is one rank below chief.

Attempts to reach Brockton Fire Chief Richard Francis were unsuccessful Friday. Gillpatrick said it’s unlikely the department would comment on the case until after an investigation.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” he said.

A clerk at the court said a police report of the incident couldn’t be made public until criminal charges are filed.

Reynolds said Whitman Police Chief Christine May-Stafford refused to release the police report from the incident.

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