group dispersed prior to law enforcement's arrival

UPDATE: Knox S.O. investigates Vinalhaven incident: Tree cut to barricade driveway, quarantine demanded

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 12:15pm

    VINALHAVEN — The Knox County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate circumstances around why some people on Vinalhaven intentionally downed a tree to block the end of a resident’s road.

    “We are concerned that some believe that anyone from out of the state is potentially infected and needs to be quarantined,” according to a March 28 news release, issued at 10 p.m.

    The incident blew up on Vinalhaven at 3:35 p.m., Friday, March 27, according to the S.O,, when a resident of Cripple Creek Road, Vinalhaven, was heading from his residence toward Round The Island Road.

    He was going to check on why the cable service was not working. When he got to the end of his road he found a tree blocking the end of it.

    “While investigating the downed tree, a neighbor started yelling at him and a group of people showed up and began to gather around,” the release said. “Believing the group may be there to harm him, fled to his residence and told his roommates what he had found. The trio decided to stay put in the residence, utilized a VHF radio to hail the Coast Guard for assistance, they had no other means of communication, and utilized their drone to keep an eye on the group until law enforcement could arrive to help them.”

    Several law enforcement entities arrived, saw the felled tree but no group of people.

    “It was apparent that the tree had been cut down and dragged into the roadway to block it,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

    “Deputies have learned that there is a general belief by some island residents that the Cripple Creek residents are supposed to be quarantined because they came here from another state and could have COVID-19,” the release said. “Deputies did investigate this and learned that the trio had been residing on Vinalhaven for about 30 days, which is outside of the guidance issued by state officials, and none have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19.”

    “We want to bring to the public's attention the matter of restricting a person's movements within the state,” the Knox S.O., said. “Whether someone is a Maine resident or not, they have the right to free movement and anyone who infringes upon that free movement is potentially violating the law.

    “If you are concerned about someone potentially being infected or not following the emergency rules or recommendations, please contact us. We want everyone to be informed about COVID-19 and the rules around it. We also want everyone to be safe and not overreact in this time of uncertainty as it could end poorly.”


    On March 27, 2020, at approximately 3:35 p.m., an individual used a VHF radio system to hail the Coast Guard for assistance at a residence in the area of Cripple Creek Road on Vinalhaven, according to a news release, March 28, from the Knox County Sheriffs’ Office.

    The individual reported that several people with guns had cut down a tree and were telling them that they need to stay quarantined.

    Someone with a scanner heard the report made to the Coast Guard and called the Knox Regional Communications Center reporting the radio transmission that was heard.

    Deputies, along with members of the Maine Marine Patrol and a Coast Guard boarding party, made contact with the complainant and discovered that a tree had in fact been cut down and dragged into the driveway to block the way. The group had dispersed prior to law enforcement's arrival.

    The incident is under investigation and anyone with information is encouraged to contact Lieutenant Reggie Walker at (207) 594-0429, ext. 720.

    “These events do appear to be directed toward specific individuals and we do not feel there is a specific threat to the general public,” the Knox S.O. said, in the release.