AUGUSTA — A Connecticut man driving a fully-loaded tractor-trailer south on Interstate 95 was arrested Thursday on a drunken-driving charge when a test showed his blood-alcohol level was five times the legal limit for a commercial driver.

Maine State Police first received complaints about the way the tractor-trailer was being driven at 2:45 p.m., when the driver was reported to be passing through the Clinton-Benton area, according to Trooper John York. For the next 20 minutes, police received several other complaints about the driver before stopping him in Augusta between exits 109 and 112.

Damon Frechette, 39, was arrested on a charge of operating under the influence. Police administered a breath-alcohol test that showed his blood-alcohol level was five times the legal limit for a commercial driver.

In Maine, the legal blood-alcohol limit for commercial drivers is 0.04 percent, which is half the 0.08 percent allowable for non-commercial drivers. York would not specify Frechette’s blood-alcohol level, but five times the commercial driver limit would be about 0.2 percent.

Frechette’s bail was set at $500, according to an arraignment document.

He was headed south at the time police stopped him, pulling a tractor-trailer fully loaded with 48,000 pounds of mulch packed into pallets, York said.

“That’s a lot of destructive power,” York said of the combined size and weight of the vehicle Frechette was operating.

After police initially received complaints about the way Frechette was driving on I-95, they tried to stop him in Sidney by opening a weigh station that had been closed and turning on lights that indicate all commercial vehicles must stop there, York said.

But Frechette did not stop at the weigh station and several state troopers caught up to his vehicle near Exit 112 in Augusta.

Sgt. Jeff Mills began following the tractor-trailer, but it still did not stop, York said.

So York, who was driving a cruiser and was joined by Trooper Andy Hardy in the passenger seat, pulled alongside the truck with his siren on and lights flashing. Hardy motioned out the window for Frechette to pull over, which he eventually did at mile 111, York said.

Charles Eichacker can be contacted at 621-5642 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: ceichacker


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