A 43-year-old Strong man was arrested Thursday morning after he fired a handgun in the parking lot of a convenience store following a road rage incident in Madison, officials said.

Joseph Champagne was charged with aggravating reckless conduct, class B, and terrorizing, class D.

Joseph Champagne, 43, of Strong was arrested on Thursday after firing a gun during a road rage incident. Somerset County Jail

The incident began when Champagne allegedly pulled his green pickup truck bearing New Hampshire plates out in front of a tractor-trailer operated by Shane A. Lucas, 47, of Hudson, on White School House Road in Madison, according to Michael Mitchell, chief deputy for the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.

Lucas said the driver of the green pickup slammed on his brakes several times causing Lucas to slam on his brakes to avoid running into the rear of the pickup. Lucas then allegedly followed Champagne, who had an unnamed passenger in the truck with him, until the two parted ways at a stoplight, according to Mitchell.

Lucas and Champagne unintentionally crossed paths soon after in the parking lot of the Big Apple convenience store on Old Point Avenue in Madison. After a verbal argument ensued, Champagne pulled out a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson pistol and fired a shot at the ground beside Lucas. A witness pumping gas at the station called police around 8:25 a.m., according to Mitchell.

Champagne and the passenger then got back into the truck and drove off, but were soon apprehended by State Police at the Tradewinds Market on Madison Road in Norridgewock.

Champagne was arrested and charged with aggravated reckless conduct and terrorizing.

Corporals Matthew Cunningham and Joseph Jackson, Deputy Logan Roberts, and Detective David Cole, all of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, responded to the call.

“This could have been disastrous,” Mitchell said. “The proximity to where he (Champagne) fired the gun there were people pumping gas, people coming in and out of the store. It could have been disastrous if that bullet ricocheted off the concrete and hit someone.”

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