Police arrested a Knox man on charges stemming from a car-bicycle accident in which a Belfast city councilor was injured after the man allegedly struck the cyclist with his car, left the scene and blamed the incident on his daughter.

Belfast Police Chief Mike McFadden said Steven Lucas, 59, of Knox, was arrested in Brunswick on several warrants Friday, March 15, on charges of aggravated leaving the scene of an accident, aggravated operating under the influence and filing a false public report. The charges are in connection with the hit-and-run accident that sent Belfast City Councilor Eric Sanders to the hospital Friday afternoon, March 8.

Police initially arrested and charged his daughter, 36-year-old Derri Lucas, with the crime, but after further investigation pointed to Steven Lucas, police rescinded the charge against his daughter and re-focused the investigation on the Knox man.

McFadden said Sanders, 53, was back to work Monday morning, March 11, after being treated at Waldo County General Hospital the previous Friday, for a series of injuries, including a large cut to his ear and abrasions and bruises he sustained in the accident. The impact also rendered Sanders unconscious for a brief time after the accident occurred, McFadden said.

McFadden said the initial report indicated that Sanders appeared to be injured after somehow falling off the bike. The report came in to police at 2:22 p.m.

Belfast Officer Brian Lunt responded to the call and when he arrived on the scene, McFadden said, Lunt noticed pieces of broken glass and plastic around the area of the bicycle.

"He determined at that point a motor vehicle had been involved," said McFadden.

A couple of eye witnesses came forward and told the officer they saw a white vehicle leading a maroon-colored vehicle passing by Sanders in the seconds leading up to the accident, but McFadden said neither of the witnesses saw either of the vehicles hit Sanders.

The pieces of plastic on the road came from a side view mirror, and McFadden said it was difficult to determine which of the vehicles they may have originated from, because it is not uncommon for vehicles of varying colors to have black side mirrors.

Belfast police issued a notice to other law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for both vehicles and to pay special attention to vehicles fitting that description that also had damage to the passenger-side mirror.

Later that night, at 6:26 p.m., police received a report of a disturbance on Patterson Hill Road and Lunt responded to that complaint. Upon arrival, McFadden said, Lunt saw a red-colored vehicle with a man who was later identified as Steven Lucas sitting in the driver's seat. Lunt approached the passenger side of the car, at which time, McFadden said, the officer noticed the side mirror was "dangling."

Lunt then determined the damage to the car was consistent with the pieces of glass and plastic Lunt located at the scene of the accident hours before.

McFadden said Lunt asked Steven Lucas if he had been involved in an accident in town earlier in the day and at first he said he didn't recall being in town. But then, the chief said, Steven Lucas said he had been to town and thought he saw a bicyclist fall down, after which he said he asked his daughter, Derri Lucas, if she had hit a person on a bike.

"She said she had not, and they continued traveling toward the downtown area," said McFadden.

Moments later, McFadden said, Derri Lucas approached on foot and was "extremely intoxicated." Because Derri Lucas was subject to bail conditions barring her from using alcohol or drugs, McFadden said, Lunt and other responding officers tried to detain her, but she allegedly resisted. At that time, officers restrained the woman and arrested her on charges of violating conditions of release, refusing to submit to arrest or detention and possession of a usable amount of marijuana. As Derri Lucas was being detained, McFadden said, the officers noted that Derri Lucas was in possession of the keys to the red vehicle parked a short distance away. At that time, police also charged Derri Lucas with aggravated leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and operating after suspension.

Because Derri Lucas remained combative and was unable to communicate with officers on the night of her arrest, McFadden said, Officer Mike Rolerson went to Waldo County Jail to speak with her about the accident involving Sanders the next day.

"She claimed it was her father who was driving at the time of the accident," said McFadden.

After asking Derri Lucas a few followup questions, the investigation led police to McDonald's, where surveillance video showed Steven Lucas entering the restaurant, making a purchase and returning to the driver's seat of the red car and leaving two minutes before the accident occurred. After speaking with employees at the restaurant, McFadden said, police learned Steven Lucas was so intoxicated when he went into the restaurant that management sent an employee out to the parking lot in an attempt to keep Steven Lucas from driving away.

"They saw Mr. Lucas get into the driver's seat and take off," said McFadden.

Once police learned those details, McFadden said, the aggravated leaving the scene of a personal injury accident charge against Derri Lucas was dropped. The operating after suspension charge still stood, McFadden said, because surveillance video from Freedom General Store in Freedom showed Lucas was behind the wheel of the vehicle earlier in the day Friday.

McFadden said he felt the officers initially charged Derri Lucas because the investigation pointed in that direction, as did the comments from her father about the circumstances of the crash.

"What led the officers to believe it was Derri Lucas was the vehicle was owned by Derri Lucas' boyfriend; the father, in quite a believable way, communicated to the officers that it was his daughter who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident on Main Street; and she had the keys to the vehicle in her pocket," said McFadden. "…They made a probable cause arrest on the night of the incident, based on the information they had."