ERIC WALLACE, 27, can be seen just below the Frank J. Wood Bridge early Saturday morning. Wallace was taken into custody by police following a long standoff.

ERIC WALLACE, 27, can be seen just below the Frank J. Wood Bridge early Saturday morning. Wallace was taken into custody by police following a long standoff.

BRUNSWICK

A man police say hid from them beneath the Frank J. Wood Bridge early Saturday morning was eventually taken into custody.

Brunswick Police Lt. Tom Garrepy said police arrested Eric Wallace, 27, a transient, and charged him with criminal trespass and the civil offense of creating a police standoff.

Wallace also had two warrants out for failure to appear — the first for operating while license suspended or revoked. The second warrant was for failure to appear for theft by receiving stolen property, operating while license suspended or revoked, and five counts of burglary of a motor vehicle.

Police received a complaint at around 12:20 a.m. Saturday morning that there were two males on top of the Frank J. Wood Bridge, which carries traffic over the Androscoggin River between Topsham and Brunswick.

When Garrepy and Lt. Todd Ridlon arrived, “I observed one subject who came down voluntarily and was released from the scene,” Garrepy said. “There was a second male who opted to conceal himself on top of the bridge, laying down on top of the top support girder. He was instructed several times by all of the officers on scene to come down. He failed to do so,” and started to work his way toward the Topsham side of the bridge on his belly.

Wallace, who was intoxicated, was spotted by authorities and again instructed to come down, and “as he was coming down, he got down to the bottom of the bridge and dropped down onto one of the concrete piers,” beneath the center of the bridge.

Wallace then disappeared underneath the bridge, Garrepy said. He called for Brunswick and Topsham officers to monitor their respective sides of the riverbank should the man make his way to shore; and he called for Topsham and Brunswick fire and rescue departments to deploy their rescue boats into the river in case Wallace fell into the water. Brunswick Fire Department brought its platform truck to provide lighting.

Eventually authorities lost sight of Wallace and personnel in the boats couldn’t find him, so Garrepy notified Maine Marine Patrol due to a concern he’d fallen or jumped into the water.

At around 2:12 a.m. Wallace was spotted by a crew in one of the boats, wedged into a girder beneath the bridge, allegedly waiting out police. Then 30 minutes later Ridlon and Brunswick firefighter paramedic James Millson, both deployed geared up in harnesses and secured by safety lines, began negotiating with Wallace. At approximately 3:38 a.m. they’d convinced Wallace to come out of the bridge superstructure on his own and crawl back up to the top of the bridge where Garrepy took him into custody.

Bail for the two warrants was $820. Garrepy said Wallace would be transported to Cumberland County Jail in Portland.

The Maine Department of Transportation was also called in the event their equipment would be needed to reach Wallace.


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