Freshman state Rep. Sean Flaherty, D-Scarborough, is scheduled to appear in court on a drunken driving charge less than a week before he stands for re-election in November.

Flaherty’s arrest after a crash early Sunday morning in Freeport could interfere with his plans to return to Augusta, and to return as Scarborough High School’s swimming coach.

School officials said Wednesday that they will have to gather information about the incident before they decide whether to renominate Flaherty for the coming winter season.

Flaherty, 25, was taken to the Cumberland County Jail after a rollover accident on the southbound side of Interstate 295 just before 2 a.m. Sunday. He was not seriously injured.

He is due in Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland on Oct. 27 to answer the charge of operating under the influence. He was released from jail on $2,500 unsecured bond. Flaherty could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Dan Warren, an attorney who is a longtime friend of Flaherty, said Monday that Flaherty hit his head in the crash and remembers little about what happened.

Flaherty is a lifelong resident of Scarborough, earned a name as a championship swimmer and attended George Washington University on a swimming scholarship.

Last season he coached Scarborough High’s boys’ and girls’ swim teams, which both finished second in the state in Class A.

Superintendent David Doyle said Wednesday that Flaherty’s arrest “would give us real pause” regarding his role for the coming season.

The winter coaching slots would usually be set by now, but with a new athletic director, Michael LeGage, that won’t happen until a few weeks after the start of school, Doyle said.

He said he had not had contact with Flaherty, nor had the athletic director or the principal.

“What we know is simply what we have read,” Doyle said. “There is a blood test and, clearly, we are waiting for the results of that to sit down and chat about whether he would continue or we would renominate him for that position.”

Doyle said the team has had success under Flaherty, “but there’s more to coaching than just wins and losses.”

In a posting on the networking website Twitter, state Rep. Jon Hinck of Portland said Wednesday that “Rep. Sean Flaherty is a good legislator, smart, forward-thinking, very active on behalf of his Scarborough (constituents).”

Flaherty serves on the Legislature’s Utilities and Energy Committee, for which Hinck is co-chair.

Voters in District 127 will soon have a chance to decide how much weight Flaherty’s arrest should carry, Hinck said. “If it’s true he was driving under the influence it says something about judgment. I would think it’s a serious factor to think about,” he said.

The political implications for other state legislators have varied.

Former Rep. Jeffrey Kaelin, R-Winterport, chose not to run again after being charged with drunken driving in 2006.

Sen. Bruce Bryant, D-Winterport, was charged in the spring of 2002 with operating under the influence, and was re-elected.

Flaherty’s driving record shows a speeding ticket in January and another in 2003. He was stopped in January for driving 75 mph in a 55 mph zone. In 2003, when he was 17, he was ticketed for driving 51 mph in a 35 mph zone.

Flaherty was ticketed for not having proof of insurance in 2009 and for not displaying a valid inspection sticker in 2002.

The only previous crash on his record happened when he was 17.

He lost control on a curve on Highland Avenue in Scarborough and crossed the centerline, hitting an oncoming car. There were minor injuries. Imprudent speed was listed as a primary factor in the crash.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.