By A.J. ALGIER
Sun Staff Writer
WAKEFIELD — A 24-year-old Westerly man with an extensive criminal history was sentenced to more than a year in prison after he admitted that he intentionally rammed his car into a perceived romantic rival on Canal Street in Westerly in January.
Darrel J. Northup, formerly of 7 Maybrey Drive, has been incarcerated at the Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston since his arrest by Westerly police, who charged him with felony assault with a dangerous weapon and failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in personal injury or death.
On the felony assault charge, Superior Court Judge Melanie Wilk Thunberg sentenced Northup, who pleaded no-contest to the charge, to 10 years in prison, 15 months to serve, with 105-month suspended and probation sentences. A no-contact order with the victim, William E. Cossia, 26, remains active. Northup was also ordered to pay restitution to Cossia for his medical expenses.
The felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident was dismissed in his court appearance on April 30.
Westerly police said Northup ran down Cossia as he left the Brazen Hen on Canal Street, where the victim and other employees of Midway Pizza in Westerly, including his ex-girlfriend, had gathered for a belated holiday party.
Workers at the pizza restaurant said they believed Northup went after Cossia because he believed he was “seeing” his ex-girlfriend, with whom he has a child.
Witnesses said they saw Northup, driving his mother’s 2011 Kia, pass a group of employees as they left the restaurant that night, then turn around and drive into Cossia as he took a few steps to wald across Canal Street to his parked car. Cossia was thrown into the air, landed on the car’s hood, then fell to the ground. He was taken to The Westerly Hospital, where he was treated for his injuries.
At the time of his arrest, Northup was serving a one-year suspended prison term, along with one year of probation, after pleading no contest to his involvement in the assault on a Westerly funeral director in 2012. Two other men were also arrested and charged in that case.
At 19, Northup also pleaded no contest to felony charges of conspiracy to commit arson for his role in an incident in which he and another man set fire to a Westerly woman’s car. The police at the time said the crime was revenge for a female friend who claimed the other woman was texting her boyfriend. A charge of fourth-degree arson was dismissed after Northup received a three-year suspended prison sentence, along with three years of probation on the conspiracy charge.