BELFAST, Maine — After allegedly striking a pedestrian Tuesday evening and then leaving the scene, a local man who later told police he thought he had hit a mailbox has been charged with operating under the influence of drugs.
Jerry Nickerson, 31, of Swanville had been driving north on Swan Lake Avenue in a red Dodge Neon at about 5:30 p.m. when the incident occurred, according to Sgt. Walter Corey of the Belfast Police Department.
Corey said that a woman driving in front of Nickerson noticed that the car behind her was swerving all over the road and she was keeping a watch on its path, according to a Belfast police official.
Then the woman got an eyeful in her rear-view mirror when the car hit a pedestrian, who went flying through the air before landing in the ditch, Corey said.
The woman stopped to assist the pedestrian, and the driver of the Dodge Neon initially stopped for a moment before taking off again, Corey said.
The pedestrian was taken by ambulance to Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast, but did not suffer serious injuries, according to the sergeant.
“Surprisingly enough, the worst thing he’s got is a stiff neck. No broken bones, nothing like that,” Corey said.
The driver told responding police that she recognized the car as being the same make and model that belonged to her neighbor, although she had not seen the driver.
Corey said that he went to the home of Nickerson, her neighbor, to investigate, and found that his car had a broken windshield.
“It was obvious that it was the one,” he said. “[Nickerson] thought he hit a mailbox. He was totally surprised to hear that he hit a pedestrian. My belief is that he truly didn’t know he hit a pedestrian, because he was impaired.”
Nickerson, who was cooperative during his arrest, was charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and possession of Xanax, a Schedule Z drug, in addition to operating under the influence of drugs.
He was taken to Waldo County Jail and has since been released on bail, according to Corey.