OXFORD — A Portland man was charged with operating under the influence late Monday night after driving away from the Oxford Casino and attempting to flee police at a traffic stop soon after.

Lawrence Turner, 40, was arrested at approximately 11:15 p.m. Monday and booked at the Oxford County Jail in Paris. He faces charges of operating under the influence, failure to stop for an officer and operating without a license.

According to Oxford police Chief Jon Tibbetts, Oxford police officer Jeremy Coron was called to Oxford Casino on Monday night for a report of two patrons who were having a verbal argument.

At the scene, Coron told Turner to leave but not to drive. However, while dealing with the other individual involved in the argument, Turner got into his vehicle and drove south on Route 26, Tibbetts said. 

When Coron caught up with Turner and pulled him over in Poland near the Poland Regional High School, Turner attempted to flee on foot, but was quickly apprehended by Coron, Tibbetts said.

“He didn’t run very far,” Tibbetts said. “He was too drunk to run very far.”

Turner was driving after his license had been revoked and was on probation when he was arrested, Tibbetts said. 

This is not the first time police have been called to the casino for intoxicated or out-of-control patrons, and Tibbetts agreed there is some cause for concern about how the casino monitors its customers’ drinking.

“I do think they need to do more about controlling their serving,” Tibbetts said. 

Servers at the casino are instructed to only serve customers one drink per half hour. An Oxford Casino spokesperson did not respond to additional questions about the casino’s alcohol policy sent in an email Tuesday afternoon.

Part of the problem, Tibbetts said, is that servers work in different zones on the casino floor. Patrons may not stay in the server’s same zone for the entire time they are at the casino, which can make it difficult to monitor how much people are drinking. 

“I know they are working to try to address it, those are difficult issues to try to address,” he said.

There have been some instances of patrons drinking in the casino’s parking lot, but Tibbetts said the majority of the people police have found to be under the influence from the casino have admitted to drinking inside the building.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Turner was being held at the jail on $2,000 cash bail and a probation hold. 

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