June 25, 2018
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Teenage driver hits 110 mph during police chase before crashing into snowbank

By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff

EDDINGTON, Maine — A teenage driver who sped by a Penobscot County Sheriff’s deputy doing 90 miles per hour in a 40 mph speed limit zone reached a speed of 110 before finally crashing, fleeing on foot, and being taken into custody late Monday night.

The chase began around 10:30 p.m. Monday when a black 2000 Volkswagen Jetta heading west on Main Road in Eddington sped by Penobscot County Deputy Sheriff Daren Mason, who was headed east on the same road.

“My radar picked him up at 90 in a 40 zone,” said Mason. “I stopped when he was 100 yards before me, put my blues on, and he just kept on going. He flew right by me.”

The suspect’s vehicle went about three-quarters of a mile up Route 9 before taking a sharp right onto Hill Street, which connects Route 9 to Route 178.

“He lost control and took out a bunch of mailboxes on the right side of that road, broke his windshield and did a lot body damage, but continued on. He blew by the stop sign onto Bradley Road and straight onto Monument Drive,” Mason said.

Mason said the Jetta proceeded about another 75 yards to a sharp bend in the road, but couldn’t negotiate it at its current speed. The car crashed into a snowbank on the Penobscot River side of the road.

“As I drove up, I saw him get out. He lost his shoe, picked it up, and took off between some residential houses,” Mason said. “I chased him to see which direction he was going, and then headed back toward Route 178.”

By this time, backup police units from Brewer had arrived as Mason was searching for footprints in the snow.

“I got to the Brewer end of the [Eddington Bend Apartments] complex. I went around the side and Corporal [Steve] Boyd came to help out,” Mason said. “I saw some footprints near some cedars alongside the complex and we checked them out.”

The suspect — Justin Brier, 19, of Eddington — had a black-and-white checkered jacket on and Mason said he used it to try and hide from police. Brier covered himself in snow and was hiding in a snowbank between cedar shrubs and the complex, but Corporal Boyd saw him with the help of his flashlight.

Mason said because Brier had a prior charge for operating under the influence, his current driver’s license was under “conditional status.”

“Even though he blew a .05, and .08 is OUI, he’s still in violation of his license status, which is like operating without a license,” explained Mason, who added that both he and Boyd smelled alcohol on Brier’s breath, and that alcohol was splashed on the inside of Brier’s vehicle.

Brier was charged with five offenses, the most serious of which was eluding an officer — a Class C felony.

“He told me he looked down before turning onto Hill Street, he looked at the speedometer and he was going 110,” Mason said.

The other charges include criminal speeding (exceeding speed limit by 30 mph or more), leaving the scene of property damage, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, and refusing to submit to arrest or detention. Two are Class D charges and two are Class E.

Brier had suffered a cut on one elbow and bruised his ribs in the chase, so after taking him to Penobscot County Jail to write up his charges, Mason took him to Eastern Maine Medical Center for treatment at 12:30 a.m.

Brier has been given a March 21 court date to appear at Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor.

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