ORONO, Maine — Police received numerous complaints about an erratic driver Sunday evening before arresting a 25-year-old Winterport man on a charge of driving under the influence of an intoxicant.
Orono police officers first were alerted to the alleged erratic driver, Benjamin Barton, shortly before 6 p.m. by staff at a doughnut shop on Stillwater Avenue in Orono, who said he was driving dangerously and heading toward Old Town, Orono police Capt. Josh Ewing said Wednesday.
He said dispatchers fielded several calls from people reporting that Barton was all over the roadway and had nearly struck multiple vehicles.
Before police officers caught up with Barton, he had already been stopped by Penobscot Indian Nation Fire Chief Joey Loring, who blocked Barton’s vehicle at the stop light in front of the Mobil Station on Stillwater Avenue in Old Town by placing his own vehicle in front of it, Ewing said.
Loring then demanded that Barton hand over his car keys, which Barton did, he said.
When police officers arrived, they noted that Barton’s speech was slurred. Though he fared poorly on field sobriety tests, Intoxilyzer testing showed no alcohol in his system. Tests by a drug recognition expert, however, indicated Barton was under the influence of a drug that impaired his driving.
The drug turned out to be Subutex, which is used to treat opioid dependence and which Barton reportedly admitted to having taken, Ewing said.
Because drugs were not stored in a properly labeled prescription drug bottle, as required by state law, Barton also was charged with unlawful possession of a Schedule W drug, a Class D misdemeanor, Ewing said.