A South Gardiner man is charged with assaulting police officers and drunken driving early Sunday morning in Winslow after his vehicle was pulled over for erratic operation, police said.

Justin Sawyer Walton, 41, was driving on Augusta Road in Winslow at 12:28 a.m. Sunday when he was stopped by Winslow police Sgt. Brandon Lund because he was driving erratically, according to Winslow police Chief Shawn O’Leary.

Walton was arrested and charged with operating under the influence, refusing to submit to arrest or detention with bodily injury and two counts of assault on an officer and criminal mischief. He is scheduled to appear in court next month.

Police at the time were conducting an OUI detail with funding from the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, O’Leary said. Lund determined Walton was under the influence, a field sobriety test should be conducted and there was probable cause to arrest him, O’Leary said Monday.

“At that time, they said, ‘You are under arrest,’ and he did not agree with being under arrest,” O’Leary said.

Walton was going to leave the scene and tried to walk past Lund and Officer John Veilleux, he said. When police stopped Walton, he started to physically fight with them, O’Leary said.

“He is a rather large individual and very strong and they tried to handcuff him,” he said. “Sgt. Haley Fleming arrived to assist.”

During a scuffle, Walton allegedly grabbed Fleming’s left thumb “and twisted it pretty bad,” O’Leary said, adding that “we’re not sure the extent of his injuries.” Walton also assaulted Lund, the chief said.

O’Leary said Haley went to MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Thayer Center for Health in Waterville for treatment and police expected to learn the extent of his injury later.

He said people react differently when they are stopped for suspected drunken driving — some can be quiet or giggly and others, violent. In this case, Walton was so strong, it took three officers to restrain him and place him under arrest, O’Leary said.

“Luckily, it was an OUI detail, so thank God we did have enough people,” he said.

Walton was taken to Kennebec County jail in Augusta and bail was set at $2,000. He posted bail Sunday and was released, a jail spokeswoman said.

Walton is scheduled to appear in Waterville District Court on March 13, according to O’Leary.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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