Orono man arrested after 100 mph-plus chase on I-95

Posted Dec. 02, 2011, at 10:29 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 02, 2011, at 11:06 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — An Orono man was arrested on several charges last weekend after a brief chase on Interstate 95 that hit speeds of over 100 mph on Interstate 95.

Besides criminal speed, Geoffrey Lewis, 22, was charged with eluding an officer, operating under the influence, driving to endanger and criminal mischief, Maine State Police Trooper Michael Johnston said Friday.

Lewis caught the trooper’s attention about midnight last Friday, when he drove by Johnston’s cruiser, which was parked on the shoulder of the northbound lanes of I-95, near the Hogan Road overpass.

Johnston, who initially clocked Lewis’ Saab at 75 mph, activated his lights and siren and began to follow the car. He said Lewis not only failed to pull over, he began to accelerate, reaching speeds of more than 100 mph.

Lewis then turned onto the Kelley Road offramp, where he began losing control of his vehicle, Johnston said. He struck the guardrail on the right, ricocheted into the left guardrail and then shot across Kelley Road. His car came to a stop at the entrance of the Freedom Center, headquarters of the Katahdin Area Council of Boys Scouts.

“It was kind of like a pinball,” Johnston said, adding, “It was a miracle there were no injuries.”

That was not the case with the Saab, which was demolished in the crash. Johnston said the car had extensive body damage on both sides and that it hit the guardrail with enough impact to rip out the entire passenger side front wheel assembly.

Johnston said it wasn’t not yet clear whether Lewis will be liable for replacing or repairing the right-hand guardrail, which was badly dented in the crash.

Lewis, who was taken to Penobscot County Jail after his arrest, was released on bail later the same day, Johnston said.

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