ELLSWORTH, Maine — Three nights in a row, a Southwest Harbor man allegedly consumed alcohol. Those same three nights, he allegedly got behind the wheel of a car and drove it, according to police. And three nights in a row, Todd B. Lear was arrested on a charge of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicants and operating after suspension.
The first of Lear’s three arrests occurred in Ellsworth shortly after midnight on June 15, according to the Ellsworth Police Department. Lear was driving a 2000 Dodge Neon when Sgt. Shawn Willey saw him pull into an art gallery parking lot on Court Street and then turn off the car’s headlights, Ellsworth police Lt. Harold Page said Thursday.
Willey pulled in to the lot to investigate and, after speaking with Lear, made him perform field sobriety tests, Page said. Willey then arrested Lear on charges of OUI and operating a motor vehicle after suspension.
Less than 24 hours later, Lear was arrested on Mount Desert Island on the same charges by Deputy Luke Gross of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Lt. Patrick Kane of the sheriff’s department, at around 11 p.m. on June 15, Gross saw a vehicle parked at Lopaus Point Beach in the Tremont village of Bernard. The beach is closed after dark, so Gross got out to look and found Lear in the vehicle, Kane said. Gross spoke with Lear and, after running his name through a law enforcement database, arrested him on charges of OUI, operating a motor vehicle after suspension and violating bail conditions, he said.
Then, around 10:20 p.m. the following night, the sheriff’s department happened upon Lear again, this time in Blue Hill. Kane said Deputy Travis Frost was in his cruiser by the Blue Hill Fairgrounds on Route 172 when he saw Lear drive by and realized the license plate registration did not match the make and model of the car Lear was driving.
Frost followed Lear to pull him over and found Lear had stopped on Evergreen Lane, about a mile away toward Surry off Route 172. Frost spoke with Lear and noticed that Lear appeared to have been drinking, Kane said, and so arrested him on charges of OUI, operating after suspension, violating conditions of release and false attachment of plates.
Kane said he did not know what kind of vehicles Lear was driving when he was arrested in Tremont and in Blue Hill.
According to staff at the Hancock County Jail, Lear bailed out on $1,000 unsecured bail for his first arrest; on $2,000 unsecured bail for his second arrest; and $500 cash bail for his third arrest.
Attempts Thursday to determine why Lear was released on bail after two subsequent alleged OUI offenses in quick succession were unsuccessful. Bail at the Hancock County Jail is set individually by multiple bail commissioners who work separately from one another, not by police officers who make arrests. Police officers knowledgeable about Lear’s string of arrests declined Thursday to comment on Lear being bailed out each time.
Sheriff William Clark, who oversees operations at the Hancock County Jail, was not in the office Thursday and so was unavailable for comment.