GRAY (AP) – A Cumberland County Sheriff’s deputy shot a motorist after a nighttime traffic stop along Route 26 turned violent.

Steven Hanson, 25, of Kennebunk, was shot once in the shoulder after he drove off when Deputy James Ambrose asked to see his license, dragging the officer along the road, Sheriff Mark Dion said Thursday.

Hanson underwent surgery at Maine Medical Center for injuries that police said were not life-threatening. Police planned to ask prosecutors to charge Hanson with drunken driving and aggravated assault.

Ambrose suffered minor injuries and was taken to the Portland hospital for observation.

The attorney general’s office was investigating whether Ambrose was justified in firing his gun, a routine procedure in cases involving use of deadly force by law enforcement officers.

The incident began shortly before midnight Wednesday when Ambrose spotted Hanson’s car with a defective headlight just south of the Gray Village Plaza and pulled it over.

When Hanson couldn’t produce his driver’s license, Ambrose suspected he might be drunk and leaned over to switch off the engine.

The deputy was standing inside the open driver’s door at the time.

At that point, according to Dion, Hanson tried to drive off. Ambrose was caught in the doorframe and dragged down the road.

As the car moved along, the deputy reached for his gun and shot Hanson, Dion said. Ambrose then fell to the road, and one of the rear wheels ran over one of his legs.

Another deputy caught Hanson a short time later. Three other young men, all from Biddeford, were in the car, Dion said, and the vehicle had illegally attached license plates.

Investigators said they later learned that Hanson’s license was under suspension for drunken driving.

AP-ES-09-11-03 1931EDT



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