An already tense picket line at a Wilmington shipping company turned into a dangerous situation on Thursday when a man drove his truck through police officers, leading to his arrest.
Wilmington Deputy Police Chief Bob Richter said that at about 9 a.m., an independent truck driver pulled into the entrance of xpedx at 613 Main Street where workers were picketing.
When police stopped the man at the picket line, he sped up and drove forward, forcing one of the officers to hang on to the side of the truck to avoid falling.
The 79-year-old man was arrested and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and various motor vehicle charges. He was arraigned in Woburn District Court on Thursday afternoon.
Richter said police have not yet released the man’s identity because they are investigating to see if a medical issue caused the driver to accelerate. Wilmington Police believe they will make a conclusion on that front by Friday.
No one was seriously injured during the incident. The driver was the only party transported to the hospital as he suffered minor injuries caused by broken glass.
“We don’t yet know why he did what he did,” said Richter. “It was dangerous. The officers could have been hit. One officer was near the truck and another was on the steps of the truck when he took off. He had to hold onto the side of the truck while it was driven. It was quite dangerous, and luckily no one was hurt.”
Despite the incident, Richter said things have remained under control at the xpedx picket line.
A representative from the company declined comment on the incident. The only comment issued came from Community Relations Manager Lisa Jonas.
“xpedx is currently in contract negotiations with (International Brotherhood of Teamsters) 25,” said Jonas. “We would like to see the matter resolved so we can provide good jobs for these valued members of our team.”
The xpedx union representative on the picket line deferred comment to union president Sean O’Brien, who did not return phone calls to Wilmington Patch on Thursday.
Richter said that police will continue working detail at xpedx around the clock, assuring a safe picketing environment.
“(Thursday’s incident) appears to be isolated. Everyone appears to be abiding by the rules and we haven’t had any major issues,” said Richter. “We don’t take sides. We’re just there to keep the peace.”