June 23, 2018
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MDI official resigns over 2nd OUI arrest

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

MOUNT DESERT, Maine — For the second time in the past year, a local selectman has been arrested on charges of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants.

Jeffrey T. Smith, 60, was stopped at 10:15 a.m. Thursday in Bar Harbor after police received a complaint about an erratic driver on Route 102, according to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputy Rob Morang, the arresting officer, said Saturday that he located Smith and pulled him over on Oak Hill Road. Smith was visibly intoxicated when he was pulled over, the officer said. Morang said he attempted to test Smith’s sobriety at the scene but could not do so and instead brought him to Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth.

At the jail, Smith took a breath Intoxilyzer test, Morang said. The deputy declined to say what Smith’s blood alcohol content was.

“They supported the OUI charge,” Morang said of the test results.

Smith was arrested by local police last November on a charge of OUI. He was convicted of the OUI charge and sentenced to serve 72 hours at Hancock County Jail, according to Ellsworth District Court records. He also was fined $500 and his driver’s license was suspended for 90 days.

Contacted by phone at his home early Saturday afternoon, Smith said that he has resigned from the board as a result of his most recent arrest. He said he officially resigned Friday but that the town has yet to receive his written resignation.

“They haven’t got it in the mail,” Smith said over the sound of classical music by Gustav Mahler playing in the background.

Smith said that though the town has not yet received his written resignation, he no longer considers himself an official with the town and now is a private citizen.

Smith, who last year said his previous OUI arrest might have been caused by medical issues, said Saturday that he was not sure whether medical issues might have played a role in Thursday’s incident.

Despite his resignation, Smith is still listed on the town’s official Web site as chairman of the Mount Desert Board of Selectmen. His term was due to expire in 2010.

In 2008, Smith was arrested in the early morning hours of Nov. 2 after local police found his car in a ditch by the side of Indian Point Road in the village of Pretty Marsh. Smith was not with the vehicle, which had minimal damage, but was located by police a short time later walking along the side of the road. Smith subse-quently was arrested and charged with OUI.

Smith, who was chairman of the Board of Selectmen at the time, later temporarily stepped down from the chairman’s post. He said then that while he was dealing with his legal and medical issues, he thought it would be best if he did not serve as the town’s “chief spokesman.” Smith said that he may have been having a stroke at the time his car went off the road and that he had “very, very little recall” of the Nov. 2, 2008, incident.

“I didn’t want to embarrass the town if I could avoid it,” Smith said last year about stepping aside as chairman.

Selectman Rock Mooers, the board’s vice chairman, on Saturday declined to comment on Smith’s renewed legal issues but said that Smith has served the town well in the 14 total years he has served as a selectman. Mooers said that, when the town receives Smith’s official written resignation, Mooers likely will become acting chairman and the vacant seat will be filled by appointment until a new selectman can be elected at annual town meeting in May.

“He has served admirably,” Mooers said of Smith. “He will be sorely missed.”



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