ASHBURNHAM, Mass. — A peaceful hike in Ashburnham ended with an alarming confrontation. Police are looking for a man who yelled and then spit at two women resting on a bench on the Midstate Trail. At the height of the confrontation the man spit and said, “I have COVID. I tested positive.”
Threatening to transmit COVID-19 could have this man facing a felony charge, according to Ashburnham Police Lt. Chris Conrad.
“It’s a separate charge and it’s much more serious,” Conrad said.
The incident happened on Sunday while police say the two women were taking a break alongside the trail. Lt Conrad said, “They were resting on a park bench.”
It’s unclear why they were not wearing masks but that’s when a man passing by told them to put on a mask. One woman shot back saying, “I don’t care. I’m not going to wear a mask when I’m outside.”
The man hiking by said, “It’s not the law.”
Police said while Gov. Charlie Baker did issue a mask mandate, it’s not a law.
The woman in the video then said to the man, “Good for you, do whatever you need to do.”
The man told her, “Selfish is what it is. Completely irresponsible.”
Then the man abruptly turned around and charged at the women spitting four times. He claimed to have COVID. The woman asked if he was OK. He said, “No, and you won’t be soon.”
Police say we all need to keep our cool.
“While everyone is frustrated we are all in this together,” Conrad said.
And, he added, enforcing the mask mandate is not up to the public.
“There’s other ways to deal with it and other authorities to deal with it than confronting it yourself,” he said.
The man is described as being in his late sixties to early seventies, 5 feet 10 inches or 5 feet 11 inches tall with gray facial hair and blue eyeglasses.
Anyone with information on the identity of the older man and woman is urged to call Ashburnham Police Detective Robert Siano at 978-827-4413 ext. 405.
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