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Picketing Verizon worker struck by truck driver

A picketing Verizon worker was struck by a contracted truck driver with a suspended license outside the company’s store in Boylston Tuesday, the second incident of a picketer of the communications giant being hit in Massachusetts in less than a week, police said.

Police received two anonymous phone calls just after 8 a.m. after Anthony Davenport, 48, of Holden, was struck by a pole-digging truck while picketing at the northern driveway of the Verizon facility at 170 Shrewsbury St., according to a statement from Boylston Police Chief Anthony G. Sahagian.

Davenport suffered injuries that were not considered life-threatening and was taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Sahagian said.

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Kevin Goodale, 37, of Bethel, Vt., was operating the 1999 Kenworth truck owned by Verizon contractor Eustis Cable Enterprises Limited of Brookfield, Vt., that struck Davenport, police said.

Goodale was allegedly driving forward to exit the facility on Route 140 and lurched forward, knocking Davenport to the ground. Davenport declined to comment on the incident Tuesday night.

After striking Davenport, Goodale immediately left the scene in a co-worker’s vehicle, police said. He later returned voluntarily, and was arrested, according to police.

Goodale was charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, operation with a suspended driver’s license, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (vehicle), police said.

Verizon spokesman Rick Young said the company is looking into the specifics of the event.

“This was not an employee of Verizon,” he said. “We are deeply concerned that the vendor that supplied this contractor did not meet its obligations under the terms of our contract and we are taking every measure to address this failing on their part.

“We will continue our inquiry, as the safety of our employees and the public is of paramount concern,” Young said.

The Massachusetts State Police Truck Team responded to the incident and after inspecting the truck, ordered it placed out of service for mechanical reasons and had it towed from the scene, according to police.

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Tuesday’s incident occurred after another protesting Verizon picketer was struck and thrown from the hood of an alleged drunk driver’s truck in Westborough on Thursday.

Candice Johnson, director of communications for Communication Workers of America, the labor union that represents the striking Verizon workers, said the communications company has chosen to overlook background checks, experience and training, and safety. The workers are also represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Johnson pointed to last week’s incident in Westborough where 55-year-old George Pulling of Naples, Fla., allegedly ran down a striking worker and drove with him still on the hood of his truck before stopping on the onramp of the Massachusetts Turnpike, tossing the worker into the road.

“In another case, a Verizon contractor in New Jersey nearly dropped a utility pole on a house. Another replacement pulled out a machete-type knife to threaten picketing workers at a Verizon mobile store in New York,” Johnson said.

“Similar incidents are happening nearly every day,” she added.


Globe correspondent J.D. Capelouto contributed to this report. Lauren Fox can be reached at lauren.fox@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurenbfox.