HALLOWELL — Christopher Buck, Hallowell’s Public Works foreman, was arrested Sunday on a charge of drunken driving.

Christopher Buck Courtesy of Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office

Hallowell police arrested Buck, 53, shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday at the Public Works garage parking lot on Water Street. He had been driving his personal vehicle.

At the time of his arrest, Hallowell police Chief Scott MacMaster said Buck’s blood-alcohol content was .26, which is more than three times the state’s limit of .08.

On Tuesday, Hallowell City Manager Gary Lamb said Buck was on a previously approved vacation this week. Buck has been the city’s public works foreman since 2013.

Buck did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.

“While this poor decision to drive while allegedly impaired was not during work time, this situation could possibly impact his ability to operate a vehicle,” Lamb said. “The court system will sort this out first.”


MacMaster said Buck was taken to the Kennebec County jail in Augusta and was released on $1,500 unsecured bail.

In Hallowell, the Public Works Department is responsible for the maintenance and repair of city streets, roads and sidewalks, maintaining the city’s recreation area, Vaughan Field and the waterfront, downtown snow removal, and maintenance and repair of city buildings, among other things.

The total department budget is about $283,000, which includes Buck’s annual salary of $54,500 and three additional department employees, according to the city budget.

Under Maine law, anyone arrested for operating under the influence with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or greater faces a driver’s license suspension, but it is not immediate.

Generally within three days following a drunken driving arrest, a notarized form detailing the offense is sent to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, which is part of the Maine Secretary of State’s office. The Bureau reviews the report and starts the process of suspension.

Emily Cook, director of communications for the Maine Secretary of State, said the BMV is then required to give the driver advance notice of a suspension, and that takes time.

“While it is true that the Bureau is authorized by statute to suspend before court conviction or even an initial court appearance, we don’t suspend immediately after an OUI stop in the most literal sense of the word,” Cook wrote in an email. “A total passage of a month or slightly less from incident to start of suspension is not uncommon.”

The driver also has the option to ask for an administrative hearing to question whether there is cause for the suspension, she said. That could delay the suspension from going into effect.

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