By Kristina Rex

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (CBS) – Portsmouth Police say a tragic end to 2018 was prevented thanks to the quick thinking of a civilian with a legally-owned firearm.

Police arrested 50-year-old Aaron Marconi Monday night after he allegedly went on a drunken tear through the city in his pickup truck.

They say Marconi hit multiple parked cars, knocked over a sign at a local Dunkin Donuts, and ultimately crashed into Nikki’s Banh Mi sandwich shop on Islington Street. The series of collisions happened just 20 minutes before New Year’s Eve activities in the city.

Marconi was charged with felony possession of a narcotic drug after police say they found heroin in his car while taking him into custody. He was also charged with driving while intoxicated, criminal threatening, and conduct after an accident.

Aaron Marconi. (Image Credit: Portsmouth Police)

After Marconi crashed his truck into the sandwich shop, police say a Good Samaritan stopped him from doing any more damage. They say a man who had been purposefully tailing Marconi blocked his car in so he couldn’t flee the crash scene.

When the man walked around to Marconi’s driver side, police say the suspect threatened to kill him. That’s when he pulled out his personal handgun, and held it towards Marconi until police arrived, keeping him at the scene.

“The actions that [the Samaritan] took, I believe stopped further destruction and probably prevented a tragedy,” said Officer Timothy McCain. He says police never encourage civilians to put themselves in harm’s way, but that this man’s actions may have saved a life.

Damage left behind by an alleged drunk driver in Portsmouth, N.H. (Image Credit: Nikki Nachampassak)

The sandwich shop and attached apartment building are damaged, and crews were working on repairs Tuesday afternoon. The owner of the shop told WBZ-TV she feels blessed by the community’s quick support.

“I’m just grateful that no one was hurt,” Nikki Nachampassak said. “Everything else can be worked on, fixed. But you can’t fix a life.”

Aaron Marconi’s damaged pickup truck. (Image Credit: Portsmouth Police)

Marconi was hospitalized for unknown medical reasons, then released on personal recognizance bail, according to the police. He did not respond to WBZ’s requests for comment.

He is expected to be arraigned Friday morning at the Rockingham County Superior Court.

Portsmouth Police say there may be more victims to the alleged crime – people who discovered damage to their cars on Tuesday morning. They encourage anyone with questions or concerns to contact Officer Charlie Raizes at (603) 610-7534.

Kristina Rex

Comments (15)