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Two Men Arrested After Reports of Erratic Driving

Thetford — Two Thetford men were arrested Tuesday after a report of an erratic driver allegedly led to a struggle between officers and the two men.

State Police began receiving complaints around 6 p.m. Tuesday about a driver in Vershire who was driving erratically and running cars off the road on Vermont 113.

Around the same time, state police received a call that the car was driving through farmers’ fields off Route 5 in Thetford in the direction of Latham Road. The operator, 23-year-old Blake Manning, was eventually found walking along Latham Road after he allegedly abandoned his car after it became stuck in a field, police said.

Manning fled on foot, according to a State Police press release, and a “struggle” ensued between Manning and police officers, who were trying to take him into custody.

During the encounter, 57-year-old Christopher Luce, who had been driving along Latham Road, stopped his car, exited the vehicle and approached Manning and the officers.

Luce allegedly refused numerous orders by state police to back away from the encounter between police and Manning, and State Police said that Luce’s refusal to move away from the scene prevented State Police from using a K9 to assist.

Luce was eventually arrested and issued a citation for impeding a police officer. He is scheduled to appear in Orange Superior Court on July 30.

Manning and Luce did not know each other, and state trooper David Shaffer said Luce chose to put himself into the situation and then refused to leave the scene.

Manning was eventually taken into custody, but not until after he kicked a state trooper several times before being placed in a police cruiser, according to the press release.

Manning was lodged at the Northeast Regional Correctional Center on an arrest warrant and charged with DUI, gross negligent operation, resisting arrest, assaulting a law enforcement officer, among other charges.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.