For Immediate Release - November 27, 2009

Cause Of Webster Man's Death Remains Pending

The cause of death of a man who died following a struggle with state police at a sobriety checkpoint on Route 114 in North Andover Wednesday night remains pending. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will conduct further tests and await toxicology results to determine why the man died.

Kenneth Howe, 45, of 4 Elaine Street, Webster, MA, was a front seat passenger in a car that was stopped at the sobriety checkpoint just before midnight. The checkpoint was manned by state police, the North Andover Police and the Essex County Sheriff's Department. At that time a state police trooper saw him making furtive movements. According to another passenger in the car, Howe had lit a marijuana cigarette a short time before they came upon the checkpoint and was trying to extinguish it.

Howe was asked to step from the car. Instead of complying with the trooper's request, he jumped out the window, struck the trooper and fled. After a short foot chase and an ensuing struggle, Howe was handcuffed and taken into custody. He was charged with assault and battery on a police officer.

He was transported to the Andover State Police Barracks, and while in the booking room slumped over and was unresponsive. He was transported to Lawrence General Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 12:45 a.m.

An investigation into this matter is being conducted by State Police detectives assigned to the Office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett.