Wednesday, November 27, 2002

High-speed chase ends in Scarborough

Published in the Current

What would have been a routine traffic stop in Saco ended up as a high-speed car chase late Saturday night on Route 1 into Scarborough, resulting in charges against a 17-year-old Biddeford male who was driving without a license.

Saco Police Officer Kevin Gray tried to pull over a car on Main Street for running a red light and squealing its tires. Instead of pulling over, the driver fled, with two passengers in the car, heading north on Route 1, according to Saco Police Sgt. Jeffrey Holland.

The car reached speeds of 90 mph on the straightaway on Saco’s outer Route 1 and was moving so fast that an Old Orchard Beach police officer trying to set up tire-deflating road spikes at Cascade Road and Portland Road was unable to make it to the intersection in time.

The chase continued north into Scarborough, and a Scarborough officer joined it just inside the town line, as the cars headed north through the marsh, still at high speed.

“You’re basically trying to keep an eye on the guy who’s fleeing from you,” Holland said.

Another Scarborough officer successfully deployed the tire spikes at the Maine Veterans’ Home, flattening all four tires on the car, Holland said. Shortly after that, the tires fell off the rims and the car stopped right by Westwood Avenue, very nearly in front of the Scarborough police station.

The driver jumped out and ran toward the rear of Scarborough High School, Holland said, and officers lost him. An Old Orchard Beach police dog and handler were called to the scene, but failed to find the driver.

The two passengers in the car, however, had not fled. A 15-year-old female and 17-year-old male were still in the car, shaken up from the speeds of the chase. Holland said the girl had appeared “extremely upset” and had told officers she had started to pray in the back seat, fearing that the car would crash and she would be killed.

The passengers told the police who the driver was, a 17-year-old male from Biddeford whose name is not being released because he is a juvenile. A 12-pack of beer was found in the car’s trunk.

“Apparently he fled ultimately because he doesn’t have a license,” Holland said. The driver is being charged with eluding an officer, criminal speed, operating without a license and illegal transportation of liquor by a minor.

The passengers were not charged , Holland said, and were released to their parents.