Madison man charged with eluding police in chase

Steven Norman Couture
Steven Norman Couture
Posted Feb. 22, 2011, at 10:58 a.m.
Last modified Feb. 22, 2011, at 9:33 p.m.

MADISON, Maine — A Madison man faces multiple charges after leading police on a chase through busy downtown Madison and Skowhegan on Monday, according to Madison police Cpl. Joe Mitchell.

Mitchell said he was driving on Main Street in Madison at about 6:50 a.m. Monday when a red 1999 Ford Escort in front of him passed another vehicle. The Escort, which turned out to be driven by Steven Couture of Shusta Road in Madison, was traveling 10-15 mph above the speed limit, despite a fresh layer of snow on the roadway.

“That kind of piqued my interest,” Mitchell said.

The car then passed a plow truck as it crested a hill, which Mitchell judged to be an especially dangerous maneuver. That, coupled with information from dispatch that Couture, the car’s registered owner, had a suspended license, prompted Mitchell to try to pull the vehicle over.

“He pulled over as if to stop,” Mitchell said. “When I pulled in behind him and he realized it was him I was interested in, he started up and took off again.”

Couture led Mitchell into Skowhegan, where two Skowhegan police officers joined the chase. At speeds averaging 10 to 15 mph above the posted limits, Couture passed two more motorists, ran a stop sign and three traffic signals and blew through two roadblocks, including one where a spike strip deflated one of his front tires. The chase continued for another mile or so in spite of the flat tire, said Mitchell.

On Madison Avenue in Skowhegan, the officers involved in the chase boxed in Couture’s car to force it to stop. According to Mitchell, Couture rammed the Skowhegan police cruiser in front of him more than once, causing about $1,000 in damage. No one was injured.

Couture allegedly refused to get out of his vehicle after the chase ended and Mitchell said he and two other officers had to forcibly remove and subdue him. Couture is charged with failure to stop for an officer, eluding an officer, driving to endanger, passing a roadblock, operating after suspension and refusing to submit to arrest.

Couture still was held at Somerset County Jail on Tuesday morning on $5,000 bail. He was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon, according to a booking officer at the jail.

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