Man crashes car, jumps in river
Cushing — The long arm of the law was able to catch up with a 28-year-old Warren man who crashed a car and then ran from an officer before jumping into the St. George River and attempting to swim away from police.
The incident began shortly after 4 p.m. May 16 when the Knox County Sheriff's Office received a report of a car crash on River Road in Cushing. The driver had left the scene and Deputy John Palmer began a search in the woods near the crash site.
According to the police report, Palmer eventually spotted Justin McLellan walking in the woods. The deputy called out to McLellan who looked at the deputy but did not respond. Palmer asked McLellan to show his hands but the suspect placed his hands in his pocket, prompting the deputy to draw his service weapon, according to the police report. McLellan ran and when the deputy saw the suspect was not holding anything, he holstered his weapon and began a pursuit.
McLellan jumped down a 30-foot dirt and rock embankment, sliding part of the way to the river shoreline, according to the police report. Palmer and Maine State Police Trooper Jeremiah Wesbrock followed.
McLellan then walked into the river and continued for about 75 feet until he went under water, the police report said. Palmer and Wesbrock went into the water to rescue the fleeing suspect.
At the same time, Detective Sgt. Reginald Walker and Deputy Don Murray went to Lyman Morse boatyard and got aboard a Boston Whaler and went down the river. They spotted McLellan swimming in the river. According to the police report, they threw a rope to him but he refused to grab it and continued trying to evade officers. He eventually grabbed the rope but would not pull himself in. Officers maneuvered the boat closer and pulled him into the boat.
McLellan was taken to Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport for injuries suffered in the crash. Sheriff Donna Dennison said he was still at PBMC May 17.
McLellan was issued summonses for operating under the influence, operating after suspension, failure to report an accident and leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury. A probation hold has been placed on McLellan by his probation officer so when McLellan is released from the hospital he will go to jail.