ELLSWORTH — Two men were arrested after a silver Saab believed to have been involved in an armed robbery attempt last month crashed Monday in Franklin following a police chase that reached speeds of 130 mph.
A red Saab that was stolen nearby moments after the crash at the intersection of Routes 182 and 200 later was recovered undamaged in Ellsworth, where the driver was arrested. The silver Saab that crashed in Franklin also was reported to have been stolen in the Brunswick area weeks ago, according to Sgt. Alden Bustard of Maine State Police.
No one was hurt in Monday’s incident, according to police.
Facing felony theft charges is Hyunkok Korsiak, 29, of Harpswell, who police say drove first the silver Saab and then the red Saab as police gave chase. Korsiak also is facing charges of passing a road block, eluding police, criminal speed and driving to endanger, Bustard said.
The passenger in the silver Saab, who was arrested by police at the Franklin crash scene, is Joseph Miller, 24, of Whitneyville. Miller is facing a charge of receiving stolen property, Bustard said.
“We have reason to believe he knew [the silver Saab] was stolen,” Bustard said.
Police have been looking for that Saab since Dec. 30, when a car matching its description and bearing the same 92K loaner license plate reportedly was involved in an armed robbery attempt in Ellsworth. Local police said at the time of the robbery attempt that the license plate had been stolen from an auto dealer in Westbrook.
In that incident, the owner of the consignment shop Needful Things had closed up his High Street business for the day and was about to drive home at 5:30 p.m. when a silver, foreign-made sedan pulled up next to his vehicle. A man got out, walked up to the man’s pickup truck, knocked on the window, then got into the truck when the store owner leaned over and pulled the handle to open the door.
The man immediately brandished a handgun and pointed it at the store owner, who scrambled out of the truck and ran away, the police officer said. The man quickly got out of the truck and got back into the silver vehicle, which sped off south on High Street.
Lt. Harold Page of the Ellsworth Police Department confirmed during Monday’s chase that the vehicle was the suspect vehicle that was being sought in connection with the Dec. 30 armed robbery attempt.
“We still want to talk to the guy who was driving the vehicle,” Page said.
On Monday, Trooper David Barnard was driving east on Route 182 between Franklin and Cherryfield around 3:30 p.m. when he passed the silver Saab and recognized it as the car Ellsworth police have been looking for. Barnard turned his cruiser around and attempted to get the westbound Saab to stop, but the Saab accelerated away, reaching 130 mph during the ensuing chase, Bustard said.
State police laid out a spike mat in Franklin, but Korsiak allegedly refused to stop and drove around it, according to Bustard.
Police stopped chasing the vehicle because of the danger posed by the high speed, but caught up with it after Korsiak allegedly lost control of the car while trying to turn north from Route 182 to Route 200.
That’s when C.J. Lurvey, 12, saw the accident through a window of his home.
Lurvey said he was watching television around 3:45 p.m. when the silver Saab skidded through the intersection, went into a ditch and struck a tree head-on in front of the Franklin Husqvarna chain saw shop. Lurvey lives next door to the shop.
“I heard tires screeching and looked out the window,” Lurvey said Monday evening.
The boy said he ran outside to see if anyone in the car had been hurt.
“I went and asked the driver if he was okay and he said, ‘yep,” Lurvey said. “He was fine. They were going pretty fast.”
Lurvey said the driver got out of the silver Saab and walked quickly behind the chain saw repair shop and drove off in a red Saab that belongs to a friend of his mother’s. He said the driver headed east on Route 182 toward the Franklin Trading Post, but came back a few minutes later, before police showed up, and turned past Lurvey’s house onto Route 200 and drove toward Eastbrook. His mother’s friend, who had been in the chain saw shop, didn’t realize her car had been taken until after it was driven off northbound on Route 200.
“It was scary after we found out he [allegedly] stole the car,” Lurvey said.
According to Bustard, Korsiak is believed to have driven the red Saab from Franklin to Route 179 in Waltham, where Ellsworth police Sgt. Glenn Moshier tried to get him to stop. Korsiak instead sped away south to Route 1A and then turned left toward downtown Ellsworth, Bustard said. Around 4:15 p.m., with police in pursuit behind him, Korsiak decided to turn into a driveway and then to surrender peacefully when he saw police coming toward him as well, he said. The red Saab was undamaged in the incident.
Both Korsiak and Miller were being processed Monday night at Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth.
The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department assisted Maine State Police and Ellsworth police on Monday in apprehending Korsiak and Miller and recovering the stolen vehicles.