Unhappy that a Lafayette Road car dealer wouldn't take back the van he bought on Monday, David Cross drove "the lemon" back after the dealer closed on Tuesday and crashed it into six cars parked on the lot for sale.
"I hit the first $25,000 car I could see," Cross told the Herald. "I didn't hit a car under $20,000. Then I moved a van that they wouldn't come down on the price for. I moved it with the lemon they sold me. I just held it to the floor until I couldn't move it anymore. I took out seven vehicles, including my own."
Cross, a Salisbury, Mass., resident who turns 42 today, is charged with six felony counts of criminal mischief, one for each of the cars he damaged, excluding his own.
He said his story began on Monday, when his wife bought a van at the Portsmouth Used Car Superstore.
"It was a piece of crap," Cross said, elaborating that his mechanic looked at the van after it was purchased and found a host of problems, including an odometer that didn't work. He said an Internet search showed it had been in a wreck and his insurance agent told him he couldn't insure it with a broken odometer, so he followed his mechanic's advice to "take it back."
Cross said he went back to the car dealer, asked for a refund and was told "you're stuck with it." So he began negotiating the price for another van, but a salesman wouldn't budge, he said.
He said he and his wife returned home in the van they bought Monday, and he waited for her to fall asleep. He then drove back to the car dealership just before midnight and started driving into cars.
He said he was about to call the police and turn himself in when he saw a cruiser, flagged it down and told the officer "the deal." After his arrest, he was released on personal recognizance bail and he's scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 19 in Portsmouth District Court.
"I was pretty crazy last night," he said. "I woke up this morning and wondered if it was a dream, but then I looked over and there's my bail papers."
Cross said he was not under the influence of any substance, just driven by anger.
A Portsmouth Used Car Superstore manager, who asked not to be named, declined to comment, but when pressed, estimated the damage caused by Cross to be about $20,000.
"That sounds about right," Cross said when the Herald relayed the estimate.
The manager said the cars Cross crashed into included a Mercedes and a special edition Mustang. He said the cars have been towed from the lot and the business is insured for the loss.
Cross is also charged with driving after suspension because, he said, his license was suspended for falling behind on child support.
He said he's prepared to face whatever penalty comes his way.
"I'm stuck with it now," he said. "But I got my point across."