NORRIDGEWOCK, Maine — A 20-year-old woman was badly injured in a crash after attempting to elude police late last week, according to a member of the Maine State Police.
Katie White may be paralyzed from the waist down, Trooper Scott Duff said Wednesday.
According to the Kennebec Journal, White, who lives in Mercer, was driving a white pickup truck when the accident occurred.
Duff said he was on his way home from his shift after midnight Friday when he encountered a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction on Wilder Hill Road that was not in its own lane.
The trooper said he evaded the vehicle and then reversed direction to pursue and attempt to stop the driver. The driver, later identified as White, took off, Duff said.
White reportedly tried to pull into a driveway and overshot the turn, pulling her truck across a lawn and near a residence, before fleeing the vehicle on foot with a 33-year-old female passenger.
Duff tried to secure the vehicle by making sure the keys were removed from the ignition but said the truck did not need a key in the ignition to run.
The trooper returned to his cruiser to search for the fleeing pair but when he turned his attention from the vehicle, White reportedly ran back to the vehicle and took off in it. The passenger did not get back in the vehicle, Duff said.
White reportedly traveled back up Wilder Hill and past the town line into Smithfield, where pavement on the road ends. White lost control of the vehicle on the gravel road, careening off the left-hand side of the road. The truck hit a dirt pile at full speed and went airborne, clipping a telephone pole, Duff said.
The trooper said he had slowed his pursuit because of thick dust left in the wake of the fleeing driver and actually drove over some of the power lines knocked loose in the crash before realizing the situation.
When Duff reached the vehicle, he said White’s legs were pinned and she was unable to shut off the vehicle or get out of it, so he smashed out the driver’s-side window to shut off the vehicle as a fire started under the truck’s cab. Duff said he was able to put out the fire.
White allegedly wasn’t wearing a seat belt.
Rescue crews from Norridgewock and Smithfield soon arrived at the crash site and took White to a LifeFlight helicopter that arrived in Smithfield to take her to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
Duff said White’s license was under suspension and alcohol was found inside the vehicle. A blood test performed on White is pending.
Evidence will be submitted to the district attorney, who will decide if charges will be filed in connection with the incident.