A Swanville man was arrested Sunday, Oct. 31, after he allegedly refused to stop for a police officer and instead headed toward Northport, stopping the vehicle only after it caught fire.

Islander Birriel-Lopez, 29, was arrested on charges of criminal speed (driving more than 30 mph over the posted speed limit), operating without a license, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, refusing to sign a summons, driving to endanger, failure to stop for an officer, eluding an officer and operating under the influence. The summons stated that Birriel-Lopez had a blood alcohol content of .19 percent at the time of his arrest.

Police received a complaint just after 1 a.m. from an employee at the Big Apple Store on Route 1. Belfast Police Chief Jeff Trafton said the employee had refused to sell alcohol to Birriel-Lopez, and when Birriel-Lopez drove out of the parking lot, the employee noticed his 1999 Chevy had no license plate on it. The employee called police to report Birriel-Lopez, and Trafton said Patrolman Mike Rolerson spotted Birriel-Lopez’s vehicle minutes later on the overpass.

Trafton said when Rolerson went to execute the traffic stop, Birriel-Lopez did not stop his vehicle, but instead continued heading towards Northport. Rolerson tailed Birriel-Lopez until they reached the Belfast-Northport town line, at which time Birriel-Lopez’s vehicle caught fire.

“It was close to being a chase,” said Trafton.

Once the minor vehicle fire was extinguished, Rolerson arrested Birriel-Lopez and transported him to the Waldo County Jail.