DECISION ON MOTION
Allen Hunter, Justice.
before the court is the Defendant's Motion to
Suppress. For the reasons set forth herein, the
court denies this motion.
January 5, 2018 at approximately 10:45 pm, Maine State Police
Trooper Nathan Derosier was on routine patrol and was
northbound on Rt. 161 in the vicinity of Cross Lake. The
officer was driving his marked State Police cruiser and he
was in full uniform. The weather that evening was brutally
cold with blowing snow.
Derosier observed a man dressed only in light clothing,
meaning unsuitable for the prevailing weather conditions. The
man was walking southbound along the edge of the road. The
man was the Defendant. Out of concern for the Defendant's
safety, Trooper Derosier pulled over and stopped his cruiser.
He did not activate his blue lights. He got out of his
cruiser and went to speak with the man. He asked the
Defendant why he was out walking in such conditions. The
Defendant advised that he had "rolled" his vehicle
and that he was going to get help. He said that he was going
to his friend's home near St. Peter's store on Rt.
161. Being familiar with the area, the officer recognized
that the store and therefore the friend's home were at
least several miles away from their present location. The
officer asked the Defendant if he was injured and the
Defendant indicated that he was not.
Derosier asked the Defendant if he needed help and could the
officer call a wrecker for him? The Defendant accepted the
officer's offer of assistance. He agreed to accompany the
officer back to the accident scene to wait for the wrecker.
There being no other options to provide for the
Defendant's safety, the officer invited the Defendant to
step into his vehicle out of the cold and windy weather
conditions. The Defendant accepted the offer and got in. As
the Defendant moved towards the trooper's vehicle,
Trooper Derosier observed the Defendant stumble slightly; the
officer did not immediately find this to be significant
because of the strong winds and blowing snow.
Defendant prepared to get into the cruiser, the officer asked
if had any weapons on his person. The Defendant simply opened
his jacket to show that he did not. The officer did not
otherwise seek to "pat down" the Defendant or do
any other kind of protective search. He did not place the
Defendant in handcuffs. He simply cleared away some items
from the passenger seat of his vehicle and the Defendant got
in. Soon after the Defendant entered the vehicle, Trooper
Derosier could smell the odor of intoxicating liquor.
men proceeded back to the location of the Defendant's
vehicle. It took only a minute to get there and the two men
engaged in only limited "small talk". The
Defendant's vehicle was on its side approximately
½ mile from where the officer had first encountered
the Defendant. The vehicle's location was close to the
intersection of the Ouellette Road and Rt. 161 near a sharp
corner in the road. This is a very rural area and there are
very few homes and no public areas, stores or similar
opportunities for shelter from the adverse weather
conditions. The area was one of open fields without any
adjacent protective forest to provide a wind break.
after the Defendant got into the vehicle, the officer
recognized him from two previous non-professional encounters.
On one occasion, the officer had encountered the Defendant at
a deer tagging station in Allagash; on another occasion, the
officer had offered assistance to the Defendant and his
mother in dragging out of the woods a moose they had shot.
Merrill, a volunteer fire fighter with the North Lakes Fire
Department was at the scene when they arrived. Mr. Merrill
had activated the emergency lights on his vehicle. The
trooper also activated his emergency vehicle lights.
anticipation of preparing a routine accident report, Trooper
Derosier asked the Defendant for his driver's license,
motor vehicle registration and his proof of insurance. The
Defendant got out of the trooper's vehicle and went to
get these documents. The officer also got out of the vehicle
and went to take some pictures of the Defendant's vehicle
on its side.
time did the Defendant ask to get out of the vehicle. At no
time did the officer tell the Defendant that he could not get
out of the vehicle.
weather continued to be very cold and the officer asked the
Defendant to get back into the cruiser. Once inside the
cruiser again, the officer asked the Defendant how much he
had to drink. The Defendant responded that he had consumed
only one Budweiser beer. The officer asked if he had consumed
the beer before or after the accident. The trooper testified
that at this point, his accident investigation had evolved
into an "OUI investigation."
Trooper asked the Defendant if they could move to a safer
location and away from the sharp corner where the accident
had taken place for the purpose of conducting some field
sobriety tests. The Defendant agreed. The Trooper told the
Defendant that he was not under arrest. The Defendant
acknowledged that he understood this. The Trooper asked the
Defendant which wrecker service he would like the ...