HOLDEN, Maine — A traffic stop made for lack of working rear lights in June has turned into a felony perjury charge for one vehicle occupant and an aggravated operating after license revocation conviction and $1,000 fine for another.
On June 10, Holden police officer Chris Greeley observed a white, 2003 Dodge Stratus with a male driver at the wheel pass by as he was monitoring traffic on Route 1A. The vehicle had no working lights on the rear end.
“He observed that the female was in the passenger seat when the car went by, and then when he initially made the stop, the male was behind the wheel, but when he got to the car, they had switched places,” said Sgt. Eugene Fizell. “She said she was driving, and not the other occupant, but officer Greeley told them he saw them switch seats.”
“She” was Heidi Archambault, 26, of Pittsfield. The other occupant was Shane Wagner, 30, of Pittsfield.
After getting licenses from both of the car’s occupants, Greeley discovered that Wagner’s license had been revoked. He then arrested Wagner for operating after suspension.
Greeley said Archambault eventually admitted both to him and another officer on the scene that Wagner was, in fact, driving her car.
“But then in a court trial last October, she changed her story despite telling two officers at the scene to the contrary,” said Fizell. “So she essentially perjured herself on the stand.”
Wagner was found guilty of aggravated operating after revocation as a habitual offender, a Class C felony, and assessed a $1,000 fine with no jail time.
“The operating after revocation conviction supports the fact she was not believed, and that gave us grounds to charge her with perjury,” said Fizell, who credited Pittsfield police for help with the perjury case.
Archambault is now scheduled for a Dec. 12 court date for charges of perjury and permitting unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
“The permitting unlawful use charge happened because it came out that she knew he was unlicensed and allowed him to drive her vehicle anyway,” Fizell said.
Archambault faces a maximum fine of $5,000 and maximum sentence of three years in jail.
“It does not happen that often,” Fizell said of the perjury charge. “I’ve been doing this job 40 years and that’s only the second time in my career that I’ve seen it happen.”