MACHIAS, Maine — Maine State Police officials have confirmed that a Maine trooper has been suspended without pay for two days after chasing a pickup truck into Canada last fall.
Staci Carpenter, who has been a trooper for nearly seven years, reportedly chased the truck — which was suspected of being operated by a drunken driver — at speeds reaching nearly 90 mph from Lubec across the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge onto Campobello Island, New Brunswick.
Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said state police policy dictates that police stop and notify Canadian authorities of the activity and terminate the chase at the border, and Carpenter violated that policy.
The incident took place around 2:30 a.m. Oct. 2, 2009. The chase began in Lubec when Carpenter attempted to pull the truck over after suspecting the operator was impaired.
Carpenter activated her car’s lights and siren, but the truck continued through the town and headed over the bridge between Maine and Canada. A border entry facility is situated at the end of the bridge on the Canadian side, and beyond it is a lengthy stretch of roadway.
“It became evident very shortly after she crossed the border that she was in Canada,” McCausland said, “so she turned around and came back. I suspect that she was only one or two miles onto the island. By the time that happened, only two or three minutes had passed.”
Carpenter then turned around and returned to the U.S.
“They are not to continue,” McCausland said Monday of the policy restricting troopers from pursuing suspects across the international border.
Efforts to reach Carpenter, who is based out of Troop J in Ellsworth, were unsuccessful Monday.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Kyle Newman, the New Brunswick man being chased, has pleaded guilty in a St. Stephen, New Brunswick, court to failing to stop at a point of entry.
The CBC report published online Monday said the court was told during Newman’s case that Carpenter was new to that part of Maine and didn’t realize she was crossing the international boundary.
McCausland said the incident was a lesson for all troopers who patrol a border area.
“We need to be respectful of the Canadian boundary,” he said. “We took it seriously. We took disciplinary action.”
State officials would not comment on the incident shortly after it occurred, confirming only that an investigation was under way. Information is being released this week since the investigation has concluded.