A pair of watchful citizens alerted police to a domestic situation in which a New Hampshire man assaulted his estranged wife and at one point tried to hit her with his vehicle during the couple's trip to Maine Sunday, Oct. 20.

Joseph McCusker, 57, of Conway, N.H., was arrested on charges of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants, reckless violation of a protection order and domestic violence assault following a series of incidents that began just before 6 p.m.

Belfast Detective Sgt. Bryan Cunningham said officers were initially alerted to the situation when the first complainant called police after she saw a vehicle stop suddenly on Northport Avenue near Belfast City Park. The caller told police they could hear a male yelling at someone else in the vehicle but could not see what was happening. The caller also gave police a description of the vehicle, Cunningham said.

Police caught up to the vehicle a short time later at a Route 1 convenience store. Cunningham said when the officer approached the vehicle to speak with McCusker, he was alone in the driver's seat. The officer later learned McCusker's wife was inside the store.

Cunningham said as the officer drew nearer to McCusker he noticed the smell of alcohol on his breath.

At that time, an unknown man in the parking lot was waving to the officers and indicated he needed to speak with one of them. Cunningham said one of the officers went to speak to the man while the others remained with McCusker. Upon speaking to the unknown man, who turned out to be a prosecutor from another state, police learned a new detail about McCusker's activities that evening.

"The guy said [McCusker] even tried to run her over in the parking lot while she was going into the store," Cunningham said.

Another officer went into the store and found the alleged victim, who Cunningham said was "visibly upset." The incident report from responding officers also noted the woman had visible marks on her face indicating she had recently been assaulted.

Upon further investigation, Cunningham said police found out more about why the couple was in Maine.

"They were here from New Hampshire for a weekend at the Samoset," said Cunningham. "The problem is, she has a protection order in New Hampshire that says [McCusker] can have no contact with her."

As of Monday morning, Oct. 21, McCusker remained in custody at Waldo County Jail.