WATERVILLE — Police took a 27-year-old man into protective custody Friday after he escaped from ambulance personnel and ran into the woods.

At 9:18 a.m. police got a call from Delta Ambulance about a patient with mental health problems it was taking to the Thayer Center for Health on North Street who had tried to jump from the ambulance, Sgt. lden Weigelt said.

Once at the hospital, the patient successfully escaped from emergency medical personnel.

Weigelt said they were concerned that the man, unidentified by police, was a danger to himself and possibly to others, so they began a search.

Police set up a perimeter around the woods in the area near the boat landing, Weigelt said. Waterville police were assisted by two Oakland police officers and the Waterville Fire Department, as well as emergency medical personnel.

Two officers entered the wooded area, which is dense, Weigelt said, and fire officials watched the shoreline from a boat.

While officers could hear the man, they couldn’t see him in the thick woods, so he wasn’t found until 10:25 a.m., after Maine State Police brought a search dog team to the scene, Weigelt said.

“He had laid down under the foliage near the water’s edge,” he said.

When the man was found, police “had to develop trust and talk him out of the river,” he said.

The man was taken into protective custody and returned around 10:50 a.m. to the Thayer Center, where he was treated.

Madeline St. Amour can be contacted at 861-9239 or at:

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