Hanover Man Arrested After Debris Removed From Property

  • David Vincelette, of Hanover, David Vincelette, of Hanover, walks through the debris spilling from his property onto a town owned right of way in Hanover, N.H. Thursday, January 7, 2015. Vincelette was arrested by Grafton County Sheriffs Deputies and charged with contempt of court and resisting arrest in an incident relating to his belongings encroaching on the Tanzi Natural Area in Hanover Wednesday, November 9, 2016. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

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Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/11/2016 11:32:22 PM
Modified: 11/11/2016 11:32:30 PM

Hanover — A long-running standoff over a Hanover man’s refusal to remove piles of debris from town property came to a head on Wednesday when Grafton County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the resident, David Vincelette, while the town was in the process of clearing away his belongings.

Vincelette, a veteran and self-styled conservationist who lives off Lebanon Street by Mink Brook, and the authorities disagree over what exactly happened on Wednesday, but both sides say there was an altercation after town workers and contractors arrived to remove his possessions from a town-owned trail leading through the Tanzi Natural Area.

The town of Hanover and Vincelette have been fighting in court for years over the spill-over from his property, which stands just south of a public access trail through a nature preserve that many residents use for recreation.

Authorities say his possessions mar the natural landscape and impede travel through the area.

Vincelette says he needs the wood pallets, machine parts and miscellaneous cast-away objects to earn a living as a homebuilder and carpenter.

He also says the town is punishing him in retribution for his pursuit of claims that Hanover is polluting its waterways with the crushed asphalt that it uses to shore up its roads, and later dumps on Moose Mountain.

His environmental concerns have been litigated unsuccessfully in court, and Hanover officials deny them.

A Superior Court judge this fall ordered Vincelette to allow his belongings to be removed without interference, or else face arrest.

In a voice message on Wednesday, Vincelette said he had sustained a neck injury from law enforcement officers, who he said “brutalized” him.

He could not be reached for further comment.

Grafton County Sheriff Doug Dutile and Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis, whose officers were present, declined to comment in detail.

County Attorney Lara Saffo said she could not discuss the facts of an ongoing case, but confirmed Vincelette’s arrest.

She said he faced misdemeanor charges of contempt of court and resisting arrest, which carry a total sentence of up to a year and a half imprisonment.

As for Vincelette’s comments about a neck injury, she said, “We dispute his assertion.”

Saffo also said that authorities transported Vincelette to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on Wednesday for a medical evaluation, at his request.

The hospital then returned him to county custody, she said.

Vincelette is now out of custody, and has a court date later this month.

Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin said that the town had begun its cleanup effort on Wednesday morning, following a late September court decision that gave Vincelette a month to clear the area himself.

“We waited 30 days plus an extra week and, when it was clear that no progress had been made in the clean-up, we began our clean-up operation this morning, beginning with the towing of 11 vehicles from the property,” Griffin said in an email on Wednesday.

“Given that the work was related to enforcement of a civil court order, the Sheriff’s Department was assisting. By the end of today, DPW had taken out some 40 dump trucks full of debris in addition to the towing of 11 vehicles,” Griffin wrote in the email.

Griffin said the work would continue the next day.

By Friday afternoon, the town-owned trail was clear. Vincelette’s property, which is just south of the public nature area, remained covered in scrap.

Rob Wolfe can be reached at rwolfe@vnews.com or at 603-727-3242.
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