A Topsham police officer was injured Sunday afternoon when his cruiser was hit by a suspected drunken driver, according to police.

Officer Lucas Shirland was dispatched to investigate a report of a possibly intoxicated driver heading south on Interstate 295 from the Gardiner toll plaza in a red pickup truck.

After watching traffic for 20 minutes, Shirland left his position and was stopped at the bottom of the I-295 exit ramp leading to Route 196, yielding to oncoming traffic, when his vehicle was struck from behind.

The vehicle that hit the cruiser matched the description of the one operated by the previously reported suspected drunken driver.

Police arrested Mark Burson, 55, of Limestone and charged him with operating under the influence and operating without a license, both misdemeanors.

Shirland was taken to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, where he was treated for neck pain and released.


Damage to the cruiser was not extensive, but Topsham Police Chief Chris Lewis could not give a repair estimate.

The department posted a photo of Shirland, one of its newest officers, lying in a hospital bed wearing a neck brace and giving two thumbs up.

“Lucas suggested that maybe this picture could be put on our Facebook page to ‘put a face’ on what can happen from alleged impaired driving,” police wrote on their Facebook page. “We, and Lucas, remind you to please not drink and drive.”

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

[email protected]

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @MattByrnePPH

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