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UPDATE: Scarborough state Rep. Sean Flaherty faces OUI charge, could lose coaching job

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UPDATE: Scarborough state Rep. Sean Flaherty faces OUI charge, could lose coaching job

FREEPORT — State Rep. Sean Flaherty, D-Scarborough, was arrested for allegedly operating under the influence after rolling his car on Interstate 295 early Sunday morning.

Flaherty, 25, was already being treated by Freeport emergency personnel for minor cuts and bruises when Maine State Police arrived at Mile 23 in the southbound lane of I-295 at 1:50 a.m. on Aug. 8.

"He refused to be transported to the hospital," Trooper Doug Cropper said Tuesday.

Flaherty was reportedly on his way home from a wedding in the Sebago Lakes area, Cropper said, when his Toyota Avalon struck a guard rail. Flaherty over-corrected and drove off the road onto an embankment. The car rolled over and came to rest on its roof.

"During the course of the investigation, it became clear he was under the influence," Cropper said. "He reeked of alcohol."

State police arrested Flaherty and took him to Cumberland County Jail, where he had blood drawn for a blood-alcohol test. Cropper said Flaherty could not complete a Breathalizer test because of the blood and dirt in his mouth from the accident. The blood sample is being tested at the state crime lab in Augusta.

Flaherty was released from jail on $500 unsecured bail. He declined to comment Tuesday morning when reached by telephone and said he would eventually provide a written statement. He did not respond to several subsequent requests for comment on Wednesday and Thursday, and no statement had been issued as of Thursday morning.

A clerk at Cumberland County District Court said Thursday morning that the case had not yet been filed and that no court date had been set.

Flaherty, who was a state record-setting high school swimmer, is the Scarborough High School varsity swim coach and an assistant coach for the Coastal Maine Aquatics club team in Cape Elizabeth.

Scarborough School Board Chairman Brian Dell'Olio on Wednesday said the decision about whether Flaherty will keep his coaching position will be left up to the superintendent of schools.

"This will go through the administrative process. We have policies regarding coaching staff and the superintendent is responsible for implementing that,"  Dell'Olio said.

The Scarborough School Department has a drug-free workplace policy that prohibits consumption of alcohol or drugs on school property. It also states that "any illegal use of alcoholic beverages or scheduled drugs ... may, depending on the circumstances, constitute sufficient grounds for discipline, up to and including dismissal."

Superintendent David Doyle on Wednesday said coaches are nominated for their positions each year, and that, technically, Flaherty does not currently have a contract with Scarborough.

Doyle said neither he, nor any of his staff has heard from Flaherty since the arrest and that all they know is what they have read in the newspapers.

"We're waiting to get the final judgment. We know blood tests have been taken," Doyle said. "Whether he's re-nominated will depend on the results of the (OUI) investigation."

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net

This report was updated on Wednesday, Aug. 11.