Dad says he feared for kids’ lives

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PORTSMOUTH — Paul Harvey Jr. was in a parked car with three of his four children on July 4, when his former wife rammed the vehicle with her Chevy Suburban three times, pushing it 10 feet while Harvey clutched the steering wheel and stepped on the brake, he testified Tuesday.

“I was frightened,” Harvey said in Portsmouth District Court. “I was thinking she’s going to kill the kids, and somehow I’m going to get blamed.”

Harvey’s testimony was offered during a probable cause hearing on charges alleging his former wife, Rebecca Harvey, 44, of 48 Ball St., committed felony reckless conduct and three counts of misdemeanor child endangerment.

Harvey testified he was waiting in his former wife’s driveway for their fourth child to come out of the home, when Rebecca drove up behind them, “hanging out the window and screaming to get the F out of the way.”

He told the court he then heard a horn, felt his car get bumped, then saw Rebecca back up and sit “for a few seconds” before she “floored the gas” and hit it twice more.

After she rammed his car, said Harvey, his ex-wife got out, entered her home through a garage door “and disappeared for five or six hours.”

Neighbors who witnessed the alleged offenses phoned police, he testified.

Under cross examination by Rebecca’s attorney, Andrew Cotrupi, Paul Harvey agreed the couple had extended and acrimonious divorce and custody disputes and admitted one or more responding police officers were patients of his Islington Street dental practice.

Cotrupi also introduced written statements from the couple’s children, reportedly saying Paul put his car into reverse, causing the collisions. Those statements were given to police officers and investigating child services agents, said Cotrupi.

The attorney also noted Paul’s car received minimal damage and no one required medical treatment. Cotrupi concluded that the “low impact” collision did not rise to the level of the charges levied.

Prosecutor Corey MacDonald countered by calling the Suburban “capable of being a deadly weapon” and pointed to the children inside Paul’s car as potential victims.

Judge Sawako Gardner said she will issue a ruling on whether there is probable cause for the case to proceed to Rockingham County Superior Court after studying the evidence and pertinent law.

In April 2006, the Harveys’ divorce proceedings became public when the state Supreme Court released a decision on their cross appeals of seven decisions made by a lower divorce court.

In spite of her membership in the N.H. Bar Association and her law degree, Rebecca asked the court to rule she should not have to work outside the home while their children were minors and cited depression as limiting her ability to work. The court ruled her depression was short-term and brought on by the divorce — which included splitting $2.9 million — and ordered her to establish an income source.

If convicted of the felony offense, she risks the loss of her law license on criminal grounds.

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