AUGUSTA — A Vermont federal law enforcement officer who allegedly aimed a loaded handgun at another vehicle in an Interstate 95 road rage incident was arrested Wednesday by Maine State Police in West Gardiner.

Police arrested Demitria Buhalis, 41, of Brownsville, Vt., and charged her with aggravated criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, a class C felony, said Maine State Police Lt. Aaron Hayden.

He said Buhalis is a police officer at the federal veterans hospital in White River Junction, Vt. Naaman Horn, a hospital spokesperson, confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Buhalis is employed there.

Horn said the hospital couldn’t comment on a specific employee but, “If an employee is found to behave in a manner that is not consistent with our commitment to professionalism and safety, we take appropriate and immediate action,” WCSH-TV reported.

Hayden said a man driving south on I-95 in Sidney called police just before noon to report that a woman who passed him in the left lane pointed a handgun at him and another man in his car as they neared mile 117 in Sidney. Hayden said the men, ages 35 and 31, are from China and Fairfield.

“The weapon was pointed directly at them as the vehicle drove by,” Hayden said.

State Police Trooper Christopher Rogers said the alleged threat was a culmination of a protracted road rage incident, which included passing and tailgating, that began in the Fairfield area about 15 miles to the north.

The caller followed Buhalis’ black Honda Accord at a distance until Rogers spotted the car in the southbound lane near mile 105. Rogers continued to follow the car without his lights activated until other officers arrived to assist with the traffic stop. That stop took place near the Interstate 295 toll plaza in West Gardiner.

Rogers said Buhalis pulled over once he activated the lights on his cruiser and was arrested without incident.

“As soon as the lights came on, she pulled over and followed all of my commands,” said Rogers, who was assisted in the arrest by State Police Sgt. Patrick Hood and Cpl. Steve Hills.

The two men in the other car stopped in West Gardiner and gave statements to police, Hayden said.

Police found in Buhalis’ car a loaded, black Sig Sauer handgun that matched the gun described by the two men in the other car.

The gun was found underneath the passenger’s seat within reach of the driver, Hayden said. Police said they also found a second loaded handgun in the car.

“Any time you elevate a crime by bringing a weapon it’s a serious offense, especially when it involves a law enforcement officer,” Hayden said. “That’s just something that we’re not going to stand for.”

Buhalis, who was cooperative during and after her arrest, police said, was taken to the Kennebec County jail. She was released on $5,000 unsecured bail. She is due to make her first court appearance in June.

If convicted, Buhalis faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Buhalis, who is originally from Maine, has a second address in the Piscataquis County town of Brownville and has family in Maine.

Hayden said nobody was hurt during the incident.

Hayden wouldn’t say specifically what sparked the alleged threat or whether Buhalis has admitted pointing the gun at the men.

“There was an altercation between the two vehicles,” he said. “There wasn’t a collision or anything like that. It just ended up being a road rage incident.”

Buhalis was driving her personal car, Hayden said, and was on her way back to Vermont at the time.

Hayden said he wasn’t sure how long Buhalis has worked in law enforcement, but in 2010 she was listed as a park ranger at Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex in New York, according to online U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service records.

Her Facebook page indicates she was formerly a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force.

Staff Writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4


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