Deer Isle man flees after driving truck into police SUV, officials say

Posted Sept. 03, 2012, at 1:23 p.m.

DEER ISLE, Maine — A local man suspected of being involved in a domestic altercation Saturday is being sought by police after crashing a pickup truck into a police sport utility vehicle that was responding to the assault complaint.

At the time of Saturday’s incident, Joel Hardy, 29, was out on bail after being arrested last month on a charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants, according to police.

The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department was responding to a call at Hardy’s home on Blaistow Cove Road on Little Deer Isle around 6:20 p.m. Saturday when Hardy, driving a 1989 GMC pickup truck away from his house, failed to stop for a stop sign, police indicated in a summary of the incident.

Chief Deputy Richard Bishop, driving a county-owned 2005 Ford Expedition, was southbound on Route 15 when Hardy allegedly ran the stop sign. According to police, Bishop swerved first to the left and then to the right to try to avoid the GMC, but the truck struck the passenger side of the police vehicle.

The GMC then went off the road, struck a utility pole on its driver’s side, hit a Maine Department of Transportation sign, traveled across an open lawn, and then struck two large square wooden posts, police said of the incident. Hardy kept driving the vehicle back onto Route 15 and continued a short distance before turning onto a side road and then abandoning the vehicle, police said.

Police called for assistance from Ellsworth Police and its K-9 unit, but were unable to track Hardy down. The GMC has “extensive damage” on both sides and its front end, according to a report summary.

According to Bishop, police believe Hardy was accelerating in an attempt to evade police before his truck hit the Ford that Bishop was driving. Bishop said he was following other sheriff’s deputies to the domestic assault complaint but did not have his lights or siren on and was only going about 35 mph when the accident occurred. He estimated that Hardy was going about 60 mph when he allegedly ran the stop sign.

Bishop was uninjured in the accident but it is unknown if Hardy may have been injured in the incident. Bishop said Monday that the Ford is believed to have sustained “a couple thousand dollars” worth of damage.

Anyone with information about where Hardy might be is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 667-7575 or at 667-1401.

Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.

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