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Police charge Topsham selectman candidate with drunken driving

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Police charge Topsham selectman candidate with drunken driving

TOPSHAM — Jean Wolkens, a candidate in Tuesday's three-way special election for a seat on the Board of Selectmen, was charged last week with operating under the influence of alcohol.

The 43-year-old Meadow Road resident was charged in connection with a motor vehicle accident the evening of Dec. 16, 2012, where she drove off Meadow Road in snowy conditions and into a tree, according to police.

Wolkens was issued a summons Friday, Jan. 11, after testing revealed her blood alcohol content at the time of the accident allegedly was 0.22 percent, or nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Wolkens, who was transported to Midcoast Hospital in Brunswick as a precaution, but was not seriously injured, is scheduled to appear in West Bath District Court on March 12, according to Police Chief Christopher Lewis.

Wolkens, who ran unsuccessfully last November to represent House District 60 in the Legislature, did not publicly acknowledge the accident or summons until she was questioned Tuesday as she greeted voters outside the polls at the Topsham Fairgrounds.

She said, however, that she had talked privately to people in the community when deciding whether to continue her campaign. Wolkens said she did not consider going public about the incident because, while she understands it is a matter of public record, "I also feel like it's a personal thing."

"I'm mortified that I allowed it to happen," Wolkens, the only person involved in the accident, said. "... I still want to serve my town. I guarantee it won't ever happen again. But the biggest thing is that I'm sorry."

She called the incident a reminder that "everyone needs to be careful."

"It can happen to anybody, and it hasn't stopped other people from serving," she said. "It doesn't change who I am; it doesn't change what I believe in. I know it shouldn't have happened; I know it was a terrible thing. I'm insanely glad that ... nobody else was involved."

Wolkens is running for the board against former Selectman Jim Trusiani of Main Street and Finance Committee Secretary Bill Thompson, an Arbor Avenue resident.

Neither Thompson nor Trusiani would comment Tuesday on the charge against Wolkens. Each said it is a private matter.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Photo: Alex Lear / The Forecaster

Topsham Board of Selectmen candidate Jean Wolkens, right, speaks with Miriam Conners of Topsham at the polls on Tuesday. Wolkens later acknowledged she was charged Friday, Jan. 11, with operating under the influence.