The Bolster Mills General Store in Otisfield was severely damaged when a pickup truck driven by Zachary Mercier of Bridgton  crashed through it Jan. 22. Jon Bolduc/Sun Journal

OTISFIELD — A Bridgton man told police he used two grams of heroin shortly before he led police on a 17-mile chase and crashed into an Otisfield store Jan. 22,  according to an affidavit.

Zachary Mercier Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office photo

Zachary Mercier, 31, of 31 Iredale St., is being held at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland on $20,000 secured bail.

He is charged with eluding an officer, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, aggravated criminal mischief, criminal operating under the influence, operating after suspension, criminal mischief, and refusing to submit to arrest.

According to an affidavit by Sgt. Anthony C. Hovey of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, the chase began at the The Big Apple gas station on Route 302 in Raymond. Around 11 p.m., a clerk reported a man had been sitting in front of the gas pumps for nearly an hour and 15 minutes.

Hovey and Sgt. Patrick Ferriter found the man, later identified as Mercier, passed out in the locked truck. When they woke him, he said he stopped to take a nap because he was tired and was waiting for a female friend. The 2008 Chevrolet was not registered to him.

“As the male spoke, his speech was very slow and slurred,” Hovey wrote. “His hand movements were slow and sluggish. His eyes were glossy. He appeared to be under the influence of something.”

Mercier gave the deputies his name and date of birth and records showed he had a suspended license and arrest warrants for drug possession.

With Hovery in a cruiser and Sgt. Ferriter beside the truck, Mercier sped away, turned right onto Main Street at about 65 mph with police in pursuit. Mercier sped onto Route 121, was all over the road and blew through the intersection at Route 11 in Casco, destroying a stop sign.

The truck hit a snowbank as it approached the Casco Public Library, went airborne and hit a mailbox before landing in the road. Mecier continued speeding into Otisfield, passing a vehicle whose driver “could see the chase ahead of time and pulled well off the road,” Hovey wrote. “(His) operation continued to be erratic, weaving back and forth and spending most of the time driving down the center of the roadway.”

As Mercier turned onto Bolster Mills Road he hit state police spike mats about 80 miles per hour and didn’t make the nearly 90-degree turn at Big Hill Road.

“As we approached the sharp corner at Bolsters Mill and the Harrison townline I observed a large cloud of dust and then I observed the truck crash into the Bolsters Mill Country Store. The truck had gone completely inside the building,” Hovey wrote.

Mercier got out of the passenger door and tried to escape through a small window in the store, ignoring Hovey’s orders to stop. Hovey tased him and he was arrested, the affidavit said.

“While waiting for assistance I overheard the male blurt out comments such as ‘I am going to jail’ and ‘I do not want to go to jail.’ He at one point started to cry and apologize,” Hovey wrote.

Mercier said he he ran because “if we had searched his car at the scene he’d be in a lot more trouble.” He said “he had just met his dealer and had used two grams of heroin before we located him,” Hovey wrote.

Police found syringes in the truck, but no drugs.

Mercier complained of injuries to his right ankle and shoulder and told police he had no recollection of crashing into the store, according to Hovey.

Mercier was taken to Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway. He was transported to Maine Medical Center in Portland later on Jan. 23 after he “overdosed multiple times and was brought back with Narcan.”

Hovey said officers suspected Mercier used an “unknown amount of heroin or other drug. It was unknown at what time this occurred, but it may have been during the chase.”

Mercier is scheduled to appear in a Portland courthouse April 22. Conditions of bail include no use or possession of any illegal drugs or their derivatives and submit to searches the same.

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