WESTERLY — A Bradford man is facing charges after the police said he was walking south in the northbound travel lanes of Route 1 early Sunday. One motorist called dispatchers and another crashed into a chain-link fence after swerving to avoid hitting him.
Westerly police charged Barney C. Hayes, 25, of 9 North Main St., with disorderly conduct, destruction of public property and possession of a prohibited weapon other than a firearm. He was released pending arraignment in Fourth Division District Court.
Hayes was arrested around 4 a.m. Sunday. A caller said he was interfering with traffic in the area of the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce by walking on the "dotted white line" separating the two northbound lanes.
Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said officers found Hayes in the breakdown lane, yelling and swearing, and a car off the road about 100 feet away that had crashed into a fence bordering the Westerly State Airport.
Lacey said officers tried to speak with Hayes, who showed signs of heavy intoxication, but could not get any explanation of what may have happened. The police found that he had a 4-inch folding knife in his pocket. He was placed in the rear of the police cruiser while officers went to check on the car and its driver.
The driver, a 55-year-old Westerly woman, was not hurt but was crying in the driver's seat of her car, Lacey said.
"She kept saying, 'I could have killed him,'" Lacey said. "It took us a while to figure out what happened, but it was dark out and that section of road is not very well lit. He was walking in the roadway and she saw him at the last minute and swerved, causing her to go off the road."
When officers returned to speak with Hayes, Lacey said they discovered that he had removed the rear passenger-side door panel, exposing the car's wiring and leaving the window system inaccessible.
Lacey said that because of the the circumstances, Hayes was charged with disorderly conduct for his role in the crash. He was also charged with possession of a weapon, for the knife, and destruction of public property as a result of the damage done to the police cruiser.
Details of court information for the case were not available Wednesday through the Rhode Island Judiciary website.