DRACUT — Cynthia Johnson owns up to it and makes no excuses. She was the mystery person throwing pink gloves out of her car window onto Old Road, in a bizarre case that has many people talking in Dracut.
“I admit what I did. I’ll pay the fine, I’ll do community service but, to me, everything is getting blown out of proportion,” Johnson, 51, said Wednesday as she sat at a table outside her apartment complex. “I’ve been a home health aide for 20-something years, and yesterday I just lost my job because of this incident.”
Johnson, of Dracut, said she was let go on Tuesday from Commonwealth Nursing Services, Inc., where she worked for several years as a home health aide. A message seeking comment from Angela Callahan, administrator at CNS, was not returned Wednesday.
Last Friday, Dracut police spoke to Johnson after she had her teenage daughter call officers about a man following them in a red pickup truck who they believed was armed. Johnson said she feared for her and her daughter’s lives. The man was actually one of the residents trying to track down the individual discarding the gloves onto Old Road, according to resident Larry J. Morin.
Two months ago, Morin launched an investigation with his better half, Joann Camilli, to discover the litterer’s identity.
Both Morin and Dracut Police Chief Peter Bartlett said that the man following Johnson was not carrying a gun.
With the mystery solved, the question on Wednesday remained — why did Johnson do this?
“I was going through depression and I wasn’t on my meds, and I haven’t seen my counselor,” Johnson offered, adding that she knows there’s no excuse for littering. “People do crazy things, but I’m not a murderer, you know what I mean? I’m not a murderer, I’m not a killer. I did something bad, but the police are going to bring me to court to pay the littering fine.”
Johnson said she’s sorry and is willing to write apology letters to neighbors who have been affected. She’s been going through a lot, she added, and is coping with the death of her sister Tracey, who died in April. On Wednesday, a photo of Tracey hung from Johnson’s neck in a heart-shaped frame.
Earlier this week, Morin said the littering on Old Road has persisted for several years and that he would sometimes see needles among the used gloves. Johnson vehemently denied Morin’s claims, saying she never threw out any needles and that the gloves she did throw out were always new.
“I know you’re probably saying, ‘Why?'” she said. “Why? Because I wasn’t thinking … people do stupid things.”
Johnson added that she doesn’t do drugs and that the littering began a little over a year ago, not several years ago like Morin and others have stated on social media. She also took issue with how a responding police officer handled the situation last Friday.
“Because I was hunted down, hunted down to get my plate number … all over the city,” she said, in reference to being followed by the male resident who she said stopped his vehicle in front of hers during the late-night chase.
The officer, Johnson said, didn’t even ask if she was OK. She has since filed a citizen’s complaint against him.
“We are aware of the complaint,” Chief Bartlett said Wednesday afternoon. “We are looking into the merits of her complaint and, once that investigation is concluded, we will make a determination whether her complaint is valid.”
After wiping tears from her eyes, Johnson maintained she is a good person.
“I’m a loving mother and I’m a loving sister,” said the single mother of two. “I lost my job because of this one stupid thing, and I’m sorry.”
Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.