A Portland man was arrested after driving a stolen front-end loader along train tracks Saturday morning in Falmouth, police said.

Charles Ayres

Police said two trains narrowly missed hitting the front-end loader earlier as it was being driven near the tracks by Charles Ayres, 45.

The first train was an Amtrak passenger train and the second was a freight train that was forced to make an emergency stop, according to statement on the Falmouth police Facebook page.

The freight train made its stop near the intersections of Falmouth Road and Leighton Road. That intersection was closed to traffic for several hours while railroad engineers checked for damage to tracks or equipment.

When police arrested Ayres around 8:20 a.m., he was sitting in the front-end loader on tracks near Blackstrap Road, north of where the freight train stopped.

Ayres was charged with felony theft by unauthorized use of a vehicle, aggravated criminal mischief and driving to endanger. He was being held Saturday at the Cumberland County Jail.

Police said the front-end loader was stolen from a parking lot on St. John Street in Portland sometime Friday night or Saturday morning. Police said Ayres was uncooperative with police and they didn’t know why he took the front-end loader or where he was trying to go.


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