MANCHESTER — A Smithfield man was arrested Monday night after leading Augusta police on a low-speed chase through Augusta, Manchester and Winthrop.

Adrian Silva, 64, was arrested in the parking lot of Mulligan’s convenience store on Western Avenue in Manchester without incident and charged with failing to stop for an officer. A witness told the Kennebec Journal that “eight police cars” stopped a white van and were “pulling out backpacks” from the vehicle.

According to police, officers were alerted to Silva’s vehicle on Western Avenue in Augusta around 6:30 p.m. Deputy Chief Kevin Lully said in a Tuesday afternoon release that Silva’s vehicle was traveling without its headlights on.

“Upon following the vehicle, it began to (drive erratically) at low rates of speed,” Lully wrote. “Officers, suspecting the driver was intoxicated, continued to use lights and sirens to entice the driver to stop.”

Augusta Police Sgt. Christian Behr said Augusta officers followed Silva’s car Western Avenue in Augusta to the Winthrop town line. Silva then slowly turned around in the direction of Augusta, eventually coming to a stop in Mulligan’s parking lot in Manchester. He exited the vehicle with his hands up before he was arrested.

“They thought he was stopping … and (he) did kind of a U-turn and went back toward Augusta,” Behr said.

Behr said a Winthrop police officer joined in the pursuit from a distance, while two Augusta officers followed closer to Silva’s vehicle. He said the chase presented no danger to the public.

“It was very controlled (and) safe, in my opinion,” Behr said, citing what he heard on police radios during the incident.

Behr said vehicle pursuits usually are related to operating under the influence or outstanding warrants, but Silva was not being charged with anything further. He said vehicle pursuits were more common in previous decades than they are now.

Angela Holman, a clerk at Mulligan’s, said she saw police stop the vehicle in front of the store’s gas pumps. She said she believed it was a drug bust, as police were pulling out backpacks from the vehicle.

“I felt like I was in the ghetto,” she said Tuesday afternoon.

Holman did not know if officers drew their guns during the arrest.

Lully declined to comment on a potential motive or other circumstances surrounding the pursuit.

“All of your questions are details that our investigation has revealed answers to,” Lully wrote in an email. “However, since Mr. Silva has been charged and has a right (to) due process with a fair and impartial court review if he chooses, these are details of our investigation that we can only be released to the court.”

The Kennebec Journal requested the affidavit from the arrest, but the request was not acknowledged by press time. Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney was not available for comment by press time.

Silva posted $300 bail from the police station. His arraignment is scheduled for April 1.

 

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666
[email protected]
Twitter: @SamShepME

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