Road rage suspect ruled incompetent for trial

Donald Delisle (Lebanon Police photograph)

Donald Delisle (Lebanon Police photograph)

By JOHN LIPPMAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 08-24-2023 1:18 PM

NORTH HAVERHILL — A Cornish man who was charged with firing a gun at another vehicle during a road rage incident near downtown Lebanon last year has been found incompetent and the charges against him dismissed.

Donald Delisle, 51, of Harrington Road in Cornish, is “not competent to stand trial and there is no reasonable likelihood that he can be restored to competency through appropriate treatment within 12 months,” Judge Peter Bornstein ruled in a court order dated Aug. 21 in Grafton County Superior Court.

The decision about Delisle’s competency status following stipulations agreed to by both the prosecutor and Delisle’s public defender attorney in addition to three reports submitted by a forensic examiner “who performed the competency, restorability and dangerousness evaluations of the defendant,” which support the findings, Bornstein said.

As part of the ruling, Bornstein dismissed the charges against Delisle “without prejudice,” which means the order is not final and can be revisited in the future. He has scheduled a further evidentiary hearing on Sept. 25 to determine whether Delisle is dangerous to himself or others.

Delisle faced a total of seven counts of reckless conduct and criminal threatening with a deadly weapon, according to court records. He had been held in preventative custody at Grafton County House of Corrections in North Haverhill immediately following the road rage incident from Jan. 22, 2022, to May 27, 2022, although there is no information in the court record as to Delisle’s current place of residence.

Margaret Kettles, managing attorney in the New Hampshire Public Defender’s office and Delisle’s attorney, did not respond to a message for comment this week.

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Grafton County Assistant Attorney Antonia Barry, the prosecutor in the case, referred questions about the case to Grafton County Attorney Marcie Hornick, who declined to comment.

The incident that led to Delisle firing a gun through his rearview window unfolded shortly before 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, according to Lebanon police. Authorities received a report of man driving a Chevrolet Tahoe northbound on Meriden Road who had nearly forced a Toyota RAV4 off the road before shooting a handgun at it through the rear window of the Tahoe, according to a police affidavit filed in support of the charges.

The bullet did not hit the RAV4, which was occupied by a husband and wife.

But the husband, who was at the wheel of the RAV4, subsequently told police that he had attempted in the legal passing zone on the left to go around a Tahoe in front of him traveling under the speed limit when the Tahoe swerved leftward toward his RAV4, nearly running the RAV4 off the road.

In reaction, the RAV4 then braked hard and slowed down to fall behind the Tahoe. But as it approached the intersection with Daisy Hill Road, the husband said he “heard a loud bang and saw the rear window of the Tahoe blow out,” according to the affidavit.

The couple in the RAV4 called 9-1-1 and reported to the police the plate number of the Tahoe while they continued to follow the vehicle, which continued into Lebanon and turned east onto Bank Street and then drove away from downtown on Route 4.

Police advised the couple in the RAV4 to “stop following the Tahoe,” according to the affidavit. The couple reported last seeing it turn right from Route 4 onto Laplante Road, just east of Lebanon Middle School.

Lebanon police said they made a “felony stop” of the Tahoe near Keene Medical Products on Route 120 and were able to take Delisle into custody without incident. Police said they seized a .44 magnum revolver and a 16-gauge pump shotgun from Delisle’s vehicle.

While he was being taken into custody, Delisle told the arresting officer that he believed the individuals in the car he shot at were the same people that had been harassing him for days by revving their vehicles when they passed his home and also had “zapped” his phone and were trying to “poison” him with the antibiotic drug ciprofloxacin.

(Grafton County Assistant Attorney Antonia Barry during Delisle’s arraignment said the occupants of the vehicle Delisle shot were “strangers to him” and that there had been “no ongoing conflict.”)

Delisle told police he was on his way to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center on the Saturday when the incident occurred.

“I told Donald that he shouldn’t be shooting at people along the way,” Lebanon Police Department Sgt. Jeffrey Perkins wrote in his affidavit. “Donald said he knew that but they were trying to pass him and he thought they were trying to  shoot at him.”

Contact John Lippman at jlipp man@vnews.com.