ATTLEBORO — The city man accused of assaulting a police officer and commandeering his cruiser until they crashed into a utility pole during a struggle will be able to go free if he can make bail.
After a dangerousness hearing Friday in Attleboro District Court, Judge Jeanmarie Carroll ruled that 20-year-old Cristofer Veloz was not a danger.
The judge said her decision, however, did “not minimize how serious this incident is” or the impact it had on the officers injured or on the civilians involved.
The judge set bail at $7,500 cash and ordered Veloz, of 31 John St., Attleboro, to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet.
She also set a curfew and ordered him to submit to random drug and alcohol testing. He is required to maintain his job at a local pizza shop and is prohibited from possessing firearms.
Veloz was sent to jail and will not be able to get out until at least Monday when the GPS monitoring system can be set up by the probation department.
Veloz was allegedly shoeless and high on hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana when he tried to get into passing cars on lower County Street. He allegedly attacked Attleboro Patrolman Joseph Daday after the veteran cop responded to 911 calls around 3:45 a.m. on July 1.
Daday, who is on injured leave and was not called to testify, suffered a broken ankle and a torn ear in addition to cuts to his head and leg. He is expected to be out for at least two months, according to Police Chief Kyle Heagney.
He suffered the injuries when the open driver’s door of the out-of-control cruiser slammed shut on him when it crashed into the pole and got wedged in trees, according to testimony Friday from three other police officers.
Daday knew Veloz from his assignment as the police school resource officer at Attleboro High School, the officers testified. Veloz graduated in 2016.
Patrolman Brendon Manning, who was one of the officers who responded to assist Daday, testified he was struck by Veloz on the left side of the head. He suffered a black eye which was still visible.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Lopes argued that Veloz’s actions alarmed at least two motorists whose cars he allegedly tried to enter, and endangered Daday’s life when he fought with the officer to gain control of his cruiser.
“The defendant was so out of control he was tazed and it had no effect on him,” said Lopes, arguing Veloz should be held in jail without bail as a dangerous person.
But Veloz’s lawyer, Jeffrey Pine of Providence, argued his client’s bizarre behavior was “out of character.” He said last month Veloz passed a drug test to be admitted to train to be a union plumber.
“This incident is bizarre, isolated and without motive,” Pine argued.
His mother, Christina Fernandez, said her son “has no recollection of the incident” and that she never knew him to even experiment with drugs. She said he was not violent and has never given her problems at home.
She was questioned about her son’s arrest in 2012 on charges of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. She said she knew of the incident but was unaware of the charges. The case was dismissed in juvenile court, Pine said.
Pine also submitted 18 letters of support from family, employers and a teacher. He said it was the most letters he has ever received for a client in his 25-year legal career. Pine is a former Rhode Island attorney general.
One of the letters is from Evan Lilothoxopoulos, owner of the Attleboro House of Pizza, who said Veloz is a hard worker who would even come in to help on his days off.
“Chris is a respectful kid who is great with people. He is great with customers and is a very loyal employee,” Lilothoxopoulos said.
The case was continued to Aug. 24.