Maine police on Saturday seized what they suspected was heroin after a car crash in the town of Manchester.
A field test of the 48 grams of grainy powder found in the glove box of a 2006 Chevy Impala, however, came back negative for heroin. It turned out, the powder was human remains, according to the Kennebec Journal.
Kennebec County Sheriff Ken Mason confirmed the result with the Journal on Tuesday, remarking it was a “rather unusual manner in which to keep the remains of a loved one, for sure.”
The remains were the cremated ashes of Robert Clinton Curtis Sr., who died five years ago at age 75 in Brooksville, Florida, according to his obituary in the Journal.
“This was the first time my father was ever in lockup right here, and it took me forever to get him out of it,” his son, Kevin Raymond Curtis of Augusta, told the Journal on Tuesday.
Curtis, 57, told the Journal he had loaned his Chevy Impala, where he was temporarily storing his father’s ashes, to his friend Jess Legendre, 31, of Livermore Falls, who Curtis said needed to go to the grocery store.
But while Legendre was traveling along Prescott Road in Manchester on Saturday morning, the vehicle left the road, striking and breaking a utility pole before ending up in a ditch, according to the Journal.
According to a police affidavit obtained by the Journal, police believed Legendre was under the influence of heroin after he apparently became unresponsive while searching for documents in the Impala’s glove box.
Believing Legendre to be overdosing, Kennebec County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Boudreau administered naloxone to Legendre, the paper reports. Deputies then found in the glove box the 48 grams of what they suspected at the time to be heroin.
On Monday, Legendre, whose license was previously suspended, was charged with operating after habitual offender revocation and falsifying physical evidence, according to the Journal. He was not charged with any drug-related offense, and police produced no evidence he was under the influence of heroin or other drugs at the time of the crash, the Journal reports.
Curtis told the Journal he was storing his father’s ashes in his car’s glove box for a reason: “I didn’t want them if they were in the house, the kids ripping them open and having them everywhere,” said Curtis, who has four children.
He told the Journal he had recently obtained some of his father’s ashes from his sister, and he was waiting for an urn he had ordered to arrive.
His four children were apparently not pleased to learn their grandfather had been seized as evidence, Curtis told the Journal. But he tried to play it off.
“The kids were really mad when they found out that [the police] took Grandpa, but I tried to make a joke of it. I said, ‘This is the first time he’s ever been in lockup, and we’ll just get him out,’” he told the Journal.
Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest Maine news.