CARIBOU, Maine — The quick actions of three Caribou residents in July likely saved a local police officer’s life.
On July 20, Cuppy Johndro had just turned onto Route 89 from the Loring Commerce Center when she saw Officer Kegan McPherson struggling to hold down a man in a ditch near C&J Service Center.
She and Kirk Ward, who was driving ahead of her, pulled over and rushed to McPherson’s aid.
“An officer needed help, and I wasn’t going to see him get hurt,” Johndro said.
This week the Caribou Police Department recognized Johndro, Ward and Kip Griffin with special plaques in honor of their bravery. Police Chief Michael Gahagan said that if the three of them had not intervened, the assault on McPherson could have easily become more violent, or even tragic.
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“[Their courage] meant that everyone was able to go home that night,” Gahagan said.
McPherson had stopped Scott Larson, 50, of Caribou for allegedly speeding 94 miles per hour on his motorcycle in a 50-mile-per-hour zone around 5:43 p.m..
After seeing Larson allegedly attempt to discard drugs, McPherson tried to arrest him. Despite getting tasered by McPherson, Larson continued to resist arrest and allegedly assaulted McPherson.
During the struggle with Larson, McPherson’s radio was knocked to the ground and changed to a different channel. He was able to get on top of Larson but unable to call police dispatchers to send him some help.
At that point, Griffin, the owner of a nearby auto repair shop, intervened, with Johndro and Ward soon following behind.
As Johndro directed traffic away from the scene, Ward held down Larson’s feet and Griffin communicated with dispatchers via McPherson’s radio. Griffin later handcuffed Larson.
Larson was taken to Aroostook County Jail in Houlton and faces Class D charges of assault on a police officer, possession of Schedule W drugs, resisting arrest, evidence tampering and criminal speeding, according to Gahagan.
Johndro said she would not hesitate to assist another officer if they were in need.
“I know I’m small, but I would jump in there even if it meant getting my butt kicked,” she said.