WOODSVILLE, N.H. — The New Hampshire man arrested in connection with a deadly hit-and-run crash that left two people dead was previously indicted for a similar collision and police chase over a decade ago, according to court records obtained by 25 Investigates.
Peter Simon, 54, of Woodsville, was arraigned in Waltham District Court on two counts of manslaughter and armed robbery in the deaths of 58-year-old Waltham officer Paul Tracey, a beloved husband and father of two who was working a detail, and a 36-year-old utility worker from Cambridge, Roderick Jackson.
New Hampshire Superior Court records show that Peter Simon has a history of mental health challenges and charges for alleged violence.
The records also show that medical professionals and state officials weighed balancing the need to protect public safety, while also considering Simon’s apparent stability after receiving treatment and regular medication.
25 Investigates has compiled a timeline of events leading up to Thursday’s deadly crash in Waltham:
Court records say Simon was “driving recklessly and engaged in an extended vehicular pursuit with Keene and state police officers. The pursuit resulted in Mr. Simon colliding head-on with a bus, after which he fled on foot and engaged in a physical struggle with police when they apprehended him.”
Simon is arrested and held in the Cheshire County House of Corrections.
Simon is indicted in Cheshire Superior Court on several counts of reckless conduct with a deadly weapon (a pick-up truck), attempted carjacking, DWI and resisting arrest, and disobeying police.
After being “found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect,” Simon is committed to the secure psychiatric unit of the New Hampshire State Prison for Men.
Simon is transferred to the New Hampshire State Hospital.
An updated violence risk assessment of Simon says that since his last 2013 update: “he has remained behaviorally and psychiatrically stable and has responsibly managed gradually increasing privileges.”
The assessment adds: “He has not exhibited active signs of psychosis, paranoia or acute mood disturbance and his team reported that his psychiatric symptoms have been well controlled with medication. He has been on the long-acting injectable form of his antipsychotic medication... in addition, Mr. Simon was described as being more committed to staying on his current medication regimen.”
Simon’s history of prior violence and mental health issues including a “history of early maladjustment (including abuse and criminal behavior)” and “repeated prior violence resulting in multiple prior arrests and prison sentences,” according to the risk assessment.
The risk assessment cites Simon’s “history of major mental illness, which has clearly associated with prior violence.”
Other aspects of Simon’s history noted by the assessment include: “Extensive history of substance abuse problems involving numerous substances. History of employment problems and relationship instability... diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder and histrionic personality traits.”
The assessment says that Simon still had challenges when it came to handling his anger management.
“Has made improvements in the area of anger management... however this remains an area of ongoing work for him and can at times be somewhat impulsive verbally when feeling frustrated,” reads the assessment.
A commissioner and a judge approved Simon’s transfer to transitional housing services.
In a July 2016 incident in Franklin, N.H., Simon was charged with criminal threatening, driving while intoxicated, and disobeying an officer.
Court records alleged Simon’s blood alcohol level was above .16.
Simon allegedly disobeyed an officer who told him to stop his vehicle.
Records say Simon “placed or attempted to place” a woman “in fear of imminent bodily injury by brandishing a hammer and stating “I’m gonna Kill you too, words to that effect.”
Simon pled guilty to the charges in 2017.
Also in July 2016
Simon also pled guilty to second-degree felony assault for strangling a man with a power cord.
A criminal complaint says Simon also threatened that man with a hammer while yelling “You’re gonna die now.”
Simon faced a 2-4 year prison sentence on the felony criminal threatening and felony assault charges.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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