DOVER - Three Rochester residents accused of assaulting a middle aged couple and a teenager at a McDonald's drive-thru waived their arraignment on Thursday in Strafford County Superior Court.
Champion Sprague, 24, Robert Gorham, 32, and Megan L. O'Neill, 36, all stand charged with riot, a Class B felony that carries a seven-year maximum prison sentence plus other charges.
Dover Police say the three cut off the victims in the McDonald's drive-thru on Central Avenue around midnight on March 10, then after some name-calling, assaulted all three.
Asked if there was a different side to the story, one of the suspects, Sprague, told The Rochester Voice outside the courthouse on Thursday he would have no comment at this time.
"The three victims were just waiting in line and then another vehicle cuts them off and they just start yelling at them," Dover Police Lt. Brant Dolleman said shortly after their arrests earlier this month.
The male and female in the car, both in their 40s, were accompanied by the woman's son who is 19. Since they are victims, none have been identified.
Dolleman said after the car cut them off, the three suspects began taunting the victims and yelling insults.
As tensions escalated Gorham got out of the group's vehicle and approached the victims' car, Dolleman said, which led the 19-year-old to also get out to confront him.
Dolleman said things then happened quickly. First, he said Gorham took a swing at the teen, but missed. Then Gorham went over to and began strangling the woman.
As her companion came to her defense, he was assaulted by Sprague, Dolleman said, adding that at some point after this, O'Neill also struck the woman.
The alleged assailants all fled before the arrival of police, who later met up with the couple and the teen at Wentworth Douglass Hospital where they were all treated for what were describes as relatively minor injuries.
Dolleman said early on in their investigation of the case they learned the identity of the suspect car's owner, however, the identity of the other two ended up taking almost two months.
"We were able to ID the owner of the vehicle early on, but it was still a long investigation identifying the other two," Dolleman said. "However we were able to track where they had been in the downtown prior to the incident. We won't mention the other establishments, but we got several of them to cooperate in the investigation which helped a lot."
Gorham, Sprague and O'Neill were all charged with felony riot, which is when a group of at least three individuals (in concert) use the use or threat of violence, disorder, or terror on the public, resulting in a disturbance of the peace. It is punishable by three and a half to seven years in state prison.
Sprague, of 18 Stillwater Circle, was also charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief (breaking side-view mirror of victims' car), and two simple assaults.
Gorham, of 809 Salmon Falls Road, was also charged felony second-degree assault (strangulation), and a misdemeanor count of attempted simple assault (taking a swing at the teenager).
O'Neill, of 8 Spruce St., was also charged misdemeanor simple assault (assaulting woman).
All three turned themselves into Dover police May 9 or May 10 after learning arrest warrants had been filed.
The three now face possible indictment by a grand jury.