A vehicle that had been driven by a Bath man arrested on several charges in Richmond burns early Monday morning. Courtesy of John Knizeski IV

RICHMOND — Police arrested a Bath man after he allegedly assaulted a Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s deputy, threw the deputy’s police dog to the ground and punched a passerby who had stopped to try to help him after his car went off the road and caught fire early Monday morning.

Shane M. Sawler, 46, was arrested on charges of assault on an officer, unlawful interference with a law enforcement dog, operating under the influence, assault, criminal mischief and refusing to submit to arrest following an altercation that happened at 4:10 a.m. Monday on Main Street in Richmond.

Sagadahoc County Deputy Zachary Kindelan responded to a report of a vehicle off the road and on fire in the area of 290 Main St. in Richmond, which is also Route 197. Kindelan is a K-9 handler and had his trained police dog, a long-haired German shepherd named Hero, with him in his cruiser.

He arrived at the scene to find a vehicle off the south side of the street and on fire. And two men fighting.

Sheriff Joel Merry said the driver of the burning vehicle, later determined to be Sawler, attacked the other man, who was driving by the scene and had stopped and called the police when he saw the car on fire. Sawler was apparently angered that the man had alerted authorities.

“The guy went to offer assistance, he saw the vehicle on fire and stopped and said he’d called the police and let them know,” Merry said. Sawler “got upset with the guy, and punched him.”


Kindelan arrived shortly after the altercation had started. The passerby did not sustain serious injuries or require hospitalization, though his glasses were broken in the incident, the sheriff said.

Merry said as Kindelan looked into what had happened Sawler refused to cooperate, became defiant, challenged the deputy to a fight and took a swing at him. A struggle ensued between Kindelan and Sawler, during which the deputy was injured, suffering a wrenched back and a sore knee.

Kindelan was able to let his K-9 unit, Hero, out of the cruiser and, after warning Sawler he was going to release the dog if he didn’t cooperate, commanded the dog to “go get the suspect.” Merry said the dog came out of the cruiser and jumped at Sawler, and Sawler grabbed the dog by its fur and threw him down onto the pavement.

The dog, which was not injured, got up and bit and held onto Sawler, holding onto him as Kindelan put him in handcuffs.

“The dog is alright, he let out a yelp,” when Sawler allegedly threw him to the ground, Merry said. “I don’t know what (Sawler) expected, but the dog was not going to just jump back into the cruiser. These dogs are trained, once they lock onto something like that, they don’t let go.”

Sawler was taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta for treatment of dog bite wounds, and then to Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, where he was held without bail, on a probation violation.

Kindelan was also treated and released at MaineGeneral. Merry said Kindelan was experiencing some pain but was not expected to miss work due to the injury.

Merry said Sawler’s vehicle caught on fire not from colliding with an object but, instead, after it had become stuck on the side of the road and Sawler was rocking it back and forth, between reverse and forward, in an effort to free it, when something on the vehicle caught fire.

Comments are not available on this story.