LEWISTON – A Turner man was arrested Monday night in an incident that involved a geyser of water, two damaged police cars and a foot chase through a downtown park. And all of that outside the police compound on Park Street.

Police said 26-year-old Jeffrey Quinn used a large pipe wrench to open up a fire hydrant at the corner of Park and Spruce streets about 9:30 p.m. After he was spotted by an officer, Quinn hurled the wrench through the rear window of a cruiser and then fled toward Kennedy Park, police said.

By that time, a jet of water was shooting across Park Street, from the police compound to the basketball courts on the other side of the street.

“I could see the officers chasing the suspect through the park,” said police Sgt. David St. Pierre. “To get to them, I had to run through the water. I got soaked.”

By the time the sergeant got into Kennedy Park, other officers had already captured and arrested Quinn. He was charged with one count of aggravated criminal mischief and a charge of refusal to submit to arrest.

Meanwhile, it was soaking wet chaos at Park and Spruce streets. As water continued to gush from the hydrant, the police compound was quickly filling with water. Cars that approached the intersection were unable to pass through the geyser arching across the street. Streams of water were forming large puddles on both sides of the street.

“I just walked up here and saw that water gushing,” one man said. “It smells like the ocean.”

Police who swarmed the area had no idea how to shut the flow of water from the hydrant. St. Pierre produced the pipe wrench from the back of the smashed-out cruiser window, walked back into the spray of water, and tried using it to close the valve. He was unsuccessful.

Firefighters arrived moments later and were able to halt the flow of water. Minutes later, fire crews were called to Alfred Plourde Parkway, where another hydrant was reported open and spraying water across the road.

By late Monday, police said it was unknown if there was a connection between the two hydrant incidents.

It was believed Quinn drove to downtown Lewiston with a pipe wrench and went to work on the hydrant at the police station. Police said they are familiar with Quinn from past dealings, but had no immediate suggestions about why he allegedly opened the hydrant and then ran Monday night.

Several people who gathered at the watery scene said they also had no idea what had happened. There was the sound of gushing water, the tinkle of breaking glass and then officers running in several directions, one boy said.

Police said that in addition to the smashed cruiser window, another police car was damaged by the flying pipe wrench.

Quinn, who is believed to have family in Lewiston, was being booked late Monday night at the Androscoggin County jail in Auburn.