Troopers struck by car while responding to domestic disturbance in Hollis
Four troopers are recovering from serious injuries one day after State police say they were struck by an impaired driver in Hollis.
The incident happened after 11 p.m. on Sunday when four troopers were interviewing people at the end of a driveway along the breakdown lane of Route 202 in Hollis as part of a domestic dispute. There were three police cruisers on the scene – one in the driveway and two in the breakdown lane – with their emergency lights flashing at the time. But a 24-year-old Westbrook man, Tyler Croston, reportedly drove his 2017 Subaru WRX off the road and struck the troopers, sending all four to the hospital with broken bones and other serious injuries.
Troopers Dakota Stewart and David Lemieux, both of whom are 33, were treated for fractures and released from Maine Medical Center. Trooper Jake Mowry, 28, was in serious but stable condition after undergoing surgery while 22-year-old Trooper Recruit Shane St. Pierre was awaiting surgery Monday afternoon. St. Pierre, who was hired just last month, was in serious but stable condition, according to an update provided Monday by Maine State Police Col. William Ross.
Ross as well as York County Sheriff Bill King and Chief Deputy Jeremy Forbes said the investigation into the crash is ongoing. But Forbes said witnesses reported potential marijuana use by the driver and that Croston consented to an evaluation at Maine Medical Center that determined he Croston was impaired. He now faces charges of operating while under the influence.
Ross said the incident highlights the dangers faced by law enforcement, adding that while the agencies take steps and offer extensive training to minimize risk that “there is never a time when there is zero risk.” He added that this is why Maine has a "move-over law" that requires drivers to slow down and give police, first responders, tow truck operators and construction crews more room on the road.
"All too often these tragedies occur and they are preventable,” Ross said. “And when you have something that's preventable, the more education we can get out there, the more we can use examples like this -- as unfortunate as they are -- to get the word out that people need to pay attention, slow down and move over."
All four officers are part of the southern Maine field troop, which Ross said would pose staffing challenges as the troopers recuperate.
"Being part of a larger agency, we are able to pull resources and our people will come together and we will get it done,” Ross said. “But it does make it difficult."
Croston faces charges of aggravated operating under the influence, reckless conduct and violating the terms of his release from jail. The incident was captured on some of the police cruiser dashboard cameras.