NH man with overloaded minivan also subject of 'many' complaints in Belmont
BELMONT — Neighbors say the minivan pulled over Wednesday with a heap of furniture strapped to the top is nothing compared to the man's yard in Belmont.
Photos of the minivan Thomas McNeil, 57, of Belmont, had been driving on Wednesday went viral on social media after New Hampshire State Police posted them on Facebook.
State Police pulled over McNeil in his 2003 Honda Odyssey on Interstate 93 in Londonderry just after 6:30 a.m. to try to prevent a crash. McNeil had secured several items to the outside of the minivan using electrical cords and rope, police said.
Police issued a summons to McNeil for negligent driving along with non-inspection and towed the minivan to RGA Towing in Pelham.
However, later in the day Belmont police received a complaint about the same vehicle driving on Route 106 from Loudon with all the items still on it.
State Police Lt. Richard Mann said they were unable to find the vehicle after the complaint.
Neighbors said McNeil arrived at the home Wednesday with all the items still strapped to the minivan.
Mann said this is not the department's first dealings with McNeil.
"BPD has had contact with him regarding uninspected vehicles, defective equipment, and on one occasion regarding a disabled vehicle he owned was found broken down," Mann said.
The most recent interaction took place on June 20, when police issued a warning to McNeil for driving the minivan without an inspection sticker.
However, police aren't the only agency in town familiar with McNeil.
Steve Paquin, code enforcement officer for the town of Belmont, said he has received "many, many complaints" about McNeil's 15 Johnson St. property.
These complaints have been about various items being stored outside of McNeil's home. On Thursday, several cars and tarps could be seen in McNeil's yard. Several people at his residence declined to comment about the complaints.
Paquin said unless someone files a written complaint, there is nothing the town can do.
He said despite multiple phone calls, no one has previously filed a complaint in writing. One neighbor told NH1 News he filed a written complaint Thursday afternoon.
Paquin also said the town is very familiar with the minivan.
While the overloaded van drew mostly humorous comments online, police want to remind driver's that the incident could have had a much worse, even deadly, result.
"Driving with items attached/strapped to your vehicle could be extremely dangerous for you and those driving nearby," State Police wrote in a press release. "These objects can obstruct your view or even worse become unsecure and cause an accident."
And even if a driver does not cause a crash, it can lead to hefty fines.
Staff Sgt. Andrew Player said subsequent offenses could cost a driver up to $1,000 as well as extra fees and they could lose their license for up to 30 days.