Deputies chase drivers who fled 2 crash scenes

Posted March 29, 2009, at 9:10 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 10:45 a.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — Two drivers face multiple charges after they fled the scenes of separate accidents in Blue Hill and Lamoine.

Deputies from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department were called to the scene of an accident at about 1 a.m. Saturday in Lamoine. According to Deputy Chris Thornton, a passer-by called and reported that a pickup truck had gone off the road on the Pinkham Flats section of Route 204 near the junction with Douglas Highway.

Thornton said the driver, Gregory Harding, 50, of Lamoine, had lost control of his vehicle on a sharp curve. The pickup truck crossed the centerline and went onto the opposite shoulder, then crossed again and struck a tree.

Harding then fled into the woods and went over the edge of a gravel pit, falling about 30 to 40 feet to the bottom, according to Thornton.

Thornton, Deputy Jeff McFarland and Lt. Tim Cote helped at the scene along with Sgt. Shawn Willey of the Ellsworth Police Department and his dog Vegas. Willey and the dog tracked Harding through the woods and down the face of the gravel pit.

“It was a dangerous situation for a while,” Thornton said. “We didn’t know who we were dealing with, it was dark with dense fog and we were headed down the gravel pit.”

Harding suffered minor injuries in the accident, including a broken finger. He was taken to Maine Coast Memorial Hospital for treatment and later released. Harding was arrested and taken to the Hancock County Jail. He was initially charged with operating while under the influence of intoxicants. Other charges are pending.

While officers were still at the scene in Lamoine, dispatchers received another call of a vehicle off the road on the Hinckley Ridge Road in Blue Hill. The report indicated the driver had fled the scene.

Deputies Jeff Turcotte and Rob Morang went to the scene and called in Sgt. Willey and Vegas, who tracked the driver, Tim Gillen, 27, of Sedgwick, until they eventually lost the track.

The officers developed other information and located Gillen at a residence in Sedgwick.

He was arrested and taken to the Hancock County Jail. He was charged with OUI, operating after suspension and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

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