SKOWHEGAN — A drunken-driving charge against a Skowhegan man and part-time church pastor has been dismissed after blood test results showed the man had no alcohol in his system during his arrest last summer.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said once the blood test findings were received by her office, the charge against John Ames, then 61, of Skowhegan, was dropped.

“We charged John Ames with OUI on the basis of a probable cause affidavit on August 6, 2018,” Maloney said in an email Friday to the Morning Sentinel. “He was released on bail. Then, at the end of December, we still did not have the results of the blood test so in fairness we dismissed the case.

“If the blood test eventually returned with a (blood alcohol content) of 0.08 or higher, we would have re-charged the OUI. Now that the lab results have returned with a negative finding, we will obviously not be re-charging the case. The full complaint was dismissed in late December.”

Skowhegan police stopped Ames about 9:15 p.m. Aug. 5, 2018, on Island Avenue after a caller made a traffic complaint.

Skowhegan police Chief David Bucknam said one of his officers saw the vehicle weaving back and forth and making jerking movements, which he said is indicative of a driver under the influence. Officer Jacob Boudreau stopped the vehicle on Madison Avenue.

When Boudreau attempted to conduct field sobriety tests on Ames on the side of the road, Ames allegedly decided to stop the test, get back into his car and leave the area. Bucknam said Boudreau was able to remove the keys from the ignition, but Ames, allegedly attempting to force the officer’s hand open, injured Boudreau’s thumb.

When Boudreau, along with a sheriff’s deputy, got Ames into custody, Ames said he was having chest pains. A second sheriff’s deputy, another Skowhegan police officer and a state trooper also responded a report of the fracas, as did two ambulances from Redington-Fairview General Hospital, according to the radio communications log that day.

Ames was taken to the hospital, where he was cleared medically and taken to the Somerset County Jail in East Madison for processing.

Ames was charged with operating under the influence, failure to submit to arrest or detention, criminal mischief and assault on an officer.

All of those charges have been dropped.

Boudreau was checked medically at the hospital for injuries to his hand and was released, according to Bucknam.

The Rev. Diana Perkins, of Waterville, pastor at the Canaan Union Church in Canaan, said in a letter to the Morning Sentinel that Ames’ arrest “cost him thousands of dollars in legal fees as well as disrupting his career that he loves, glorifying God with music and biblical teaching to those who are in desperate situations either by incarceration, homelessness or lonely in nursing homes.”

She said Friday in a telephone interview that Ames, an assistant pastor at the church, had experienced surgery out of state two or three months before the driving incident and had not recovered fully in August when the police stopped him in Skowhegan.

“It was terrible because he had just had his shoulder operation,” Perkins said. “It was a very sensitive area and had to have special treatment.”

Perkins said the arresting officer pulled Ames’ arms back to handcuff him, triggering “a heart spell,” and he was hospitalized because he couldn’t breathe.

“Due to that arrest, John has not been able to perform volunteer services that he has been involved in for 16 years,” Perkins wrote in the letter to the newspaper. “All who know John know what an asset he is to surrounding communities. He donates his time, talent and heavy-duty equipment to churches and nursing homes around the Madison and Canaan areas.

“He works diligently to bring musical talent to our communities and donates his time to set up and disassemble the equipment after the concerts are over. He arranged a benefit concert to benefit a local church that needed roof repairs and it was a huge success.”

Skowhegan police Chief David Bucknam did not respond immediately Friday to a request for comment on the case.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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