A replacement worker for Verizon is facing drunken driving and assault and battery charges after he hit a picketing Verizon worker and a police officer with his pickup truck in Westborough, Massachusetts, on Thursday, police said.
George A. Pulling, 55, of Ohio, is charged with two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (vehicle), 4th-offense driving under the influence of alcohol, disorderly conduct and operating a motor vehicle without a license. Authorities initially said he was from Florida.
Westborough police said they were assisting with a labor dispute involving picketing Verizon workers and replacement workers staying at the Extended Stay Hotel at 180 East Main St. around 8:20 a.m. Thursday.
Verizon workers in several states have been striking since contract talks broke down in mid-April. They have been without a contract since Aug. 1, 2015.
Four police officers were assisting the replacement workers as they drove through a picket line of about 80 people. A pickup truck operated by Pulling was being escorted through the line, as picketers yelled and screamed at him.
Pulling then accelerated while in the middle of the picketers and ended up with one of those picketers — Joseph Rooney, 47, of Roslindale — on the hood of the truck, police said.
Pulling continued onto the ramp leading onto Route 9 west, where he finally stopped, causing Rooney to be tossed onto the road, according to police. Rooney was treated at the scene by paramedics and transported to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
One of the assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon charges was for allegedly hitting Rooney and the other was for allegedly hitting one of the police officers with the mirror on his truck.
Police said Pulling is expected to be arraigned in Westborough District Court on Thursday. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.