Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Police say that when they caught up with Justin Smyth, hiding under a trailer in the Gray Plaza, handcuffed and wearing only his boxers, it took a police dog biting his leg to get him to finally give up.
Smyth, 20, of Center Road in Gray, faces charges including aggravated drunken driving, escape, assault and driving with a suspended license.
Smyth was driving a white Chevrolet pickup truck south on Shaker Road when he apparently turned left on Main Street, crashing head-on into a Dodge Caliber about 10:55 p.m. Saturday, police said.
When a Cumberland County sheriff's deputy arrived, the pickup's driver was gone. The woman who was driving the Dodge was bleeding from a head injury. She was treated by rescue workers and taken to the hospital by ambulance.
As deputies examined the scene, a crowd gathered and a witness pointed out Smyth as the pickup truck's driver. He eventually admitted to driving the pickup, police said.
As the deputy questioned him, he asked Smyth to put out his cigarette. Smyth argued and swore at the deputy, police said, and as the deputy tried to handcuff him, Smyth tried to stab the deputy's hand and arm with his cigarette.
The deputy fired his Taser but it did not disable Smyth, possibly because the barbs that carry the electrical current did not hit him and pierce his clothing, police said. The deputy reloaded the Taser and fired again, but it still had no effect.
The two struggled, trading blows, and eventually Smyth was subdued, handcuffed and put in the rear of a cruiser, police said. Deputies said they found Smyth's cellphone in the truck and it displayed a Facebook message from a man that read: "What the hell? Why did you run?"
Deputies continued to investigate the crash, but at some point Smyth or an accomplice got the rear driver's side door of the cruiser open and he escaped, police said.
Police from Yarmouth, Cumberland, Windham and Falmouth responded, as did an Androscoggin County sheriff's deputy with a police dog.
Sometime after making his getaway, Smyth discarded his shirt, pants and shoes, police said. As police and the dog tracked him, a witness notified them that a man was running near the Gray Plaza with no clothes and his hands cuffed.
Police said they found Smyth hiding under a trailer in the plaza's parking lot, and when they tried to pull him out he resisted. The dog then bit his left leg and he surrendered, police said.
Smyth was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland for treatment of the dog bite, then was taken to the Cumberland County Jail. He was released on $1,000 bail.
Police said it's not entirely clear why Smyth doffed his shirt and pants.
Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: