A truck being driven by a Perry man who had too much to drink struck a pole in the early morning hours of Saturday, February 23, and caused the lights to go off in most of Eastport until lunchtime.
Officer Rodney Merritt of the Eastport Police Department reports that Jerry McPhail was charged with aggravated criminal mischief and with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.
McPhail hit a pole at the intersection of Washington Street and Route 190 just after 1 a.m., and Merritt says a resident living nearby thought his house had been hit.
"It looked like the Fourth of July," recalls Merritt of the early morning scene. McPhail's Toyota truck was sitting there empty, and utility lines belonging to Bangor Hydro, FairPoint Communications and Time Warner were in the road. There was blood at the scene, and police were concerned that the driver may have wandered into the woods, so a canine unit from the Washington County Sheriff's Department was called in to find the missing man. The dog led investigators down County Road, before following the scent onto Lincoln Street and then downtown to the Rose Garden Café, where it was assumed that McPhail had gotten a ride home.
The loss of electricity was felt in South End and the middle of town, and the investigation continues into how much harm was done to electrical equipment in Eastport when the transformer was turned back on at lunchtime and there was a power surge. "We know there was significant damage at the medical center and IGA, and we've been interviewing other businesses to see how much it will cost to have the damage fixed," says Merritt.
In addition to the sheriff's department, assisting the Eastport Police Department at the accident scene were members of the Eastport Fire Department, the Eastport Public Works Department, Maine State Police, Downeast EMS ambulance service and Pleasant Point Police Department.
In other Eastport police news, Louis Lucas of Eastport was arrested for domestic assault on March 2 at 11 p.m. and transported to the Washington County Jail. No one needed medical attention.