ELLSWORTH, Maine — The Deer Isle man charged after allegedly crashing his truck into a Hancock County Sheriff chief deputy’s SUV made his initial appearance in Hancock County Superior Court on Wednesday.
Joel Hardy, 29, has been charged with reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon — his pickup truck — and violating conditions of release. According to Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett, who is prosecuting the case, a charge of operating after suspension is pending.
Justice Anne Murray set Hardy’s bail at $500 cash or $10,000 surety, with a condition that Hardy be barred from driving while he’s out on bail. Hardy’s attorney, Jeffrey Toothaker, said he expects Hardy to pay the cash bail soon.
Hardy was arrested Tuesday while working on a Stonington lobster boat by the state’s Marine Patrol, according to Hancock County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Pat Kane. Hardy is a sternman on the boat, Kane said.
The suspect had allegedly fled the scene of Saturday’s accident, in which the state claims Hardy crashed a 1989 GMC pickup truck into Chief Deputy Richard Bishop’s police SUV, a 2005 Ford Expedition.
Bishop was on his way to Hardy’s home for a suspected domestic altercation involving Hardy. The sheriff’s office says Hardy speeded through a stop sign while travelling south on Route 15. Bishop was travelling north on that road, and allegedly swerved to avoid the GMC to no avail. The truck struck the passenger side of Bishop’s vehicle, causing thousands of dollars in damages, according to Kane.
The GMC went off the road, struck a utility pole, a sign and two large wooden posts, police said. Hardy allegedly drove off again before abandoning the truck on a side road and fleeing on foot.
Bishop said police believed Hardy was speeding away in an attempt to evade police responding to the domestic call. He claimed Hardy was travelling about 60 mph when he allegedly ran the stop sign and struck the police vehicle. Bishop was uninjured in the accident.
Hardy was previously charged with leaving the scene of an accident in 2005, according to reports published in the Bangor Daily News.
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