OLD TOWN, Maine — A high school principal who panicked after crashing into a parked vehicle abandoned his car and later reported it stolen, according to police.
Garry Spencer, 56, of Old Town, principal of Central High School of Corinth, is facing charges of leaving the scene of a property damage accident and filing a false report, Old Town police Capt. Kyle Smart said Wednesday. Both charges are misdemeanors and Spencer was not arrested.
The incident began at 3:15 p.m. Sunday, May 5, when someone reported a hit-and-run accident to police, Smart said.
The caller reported seeing a black vehicle strike a parked car on Lincoln Street and then turn onto Jefferson Street in Old Town. The black vehicle was later found abandoned on the corner of Oak Street and Fourth Street, about 0.7 miles from the crash scene.
David Bishop, who lives at 134 Lincoln St., said both of his parked cars were damaged by the hit-and-run driver.
Bishop, who wasn’t home at the time of the crash, said he had his 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier parked on his lawn parallel to the road and his 2010 Dodge Charger was parked in the driveway, perpendicular to the road.
“He hit [the Cavalier] head on and pushed it back 20 or 30 feet backwards,” Bishop said on Wednesday. “The car was pushed into the Charger enough to push the Charger sideways by 2 feet. He must have been traveling at a high rate of speed.”
The speed limit in the residential neighborhood is 25 mph, said Bishop.
Smart said not long after the initial call, the department received a call from Spencer, who reported that his vehicle had been stolen.
Spencer told police that he had been working in his yard but left his keys in his car and later noticed it was missing, said Smart.
The abandoned vehicle was damaged enough that it had to be towed to Spencer’s home.
“It was banged up pretty bad,” said Smart.
Bishop said his Cavalier was totaled and that $1,800-$2,000 in damage was done to his Charger.
On May 9, an insurance investigator contacted Old Town police after talking with a witness who saw the damaged black car with Spencer behind the wheel.
“The witness saw the stolen car on Oak Street with damage to the front end and recognized the operator as the owner of the vehicle,” said Smart.
Spencer came to the Old Town police station on May 12, said Smart. Spencer had not been called in by police, but came on his own.
“After a discussion, he admitted to driving the vehicle that day,” Smart said. “[Spencer] panicked and didn’t know what to do. He went home and reported his car stolen.”
Asked if alcohol was involved, Smart said, “There’s no way of telling at this point.”
A message left for Spencer on Wednesday was not returned.
Leaving the scene of a property damage accident is a Class E crime punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Filing a false police report is a Class D crime punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Spencer has been the principal at Central High School in Corinth since 2004. He served as assistant principal from 2001 to 2004.
Before that, he spent his career involved in Old Town athletics, according to previous BDN reports.
He was the athletic director for Old Town High School for seven years before leaving in 2001. He was the high school girls varsity basketball coach for 14 years before stepping down in 1999.
Spencer served as head coach of Old Town High’s football team for two years and was the assistant coach for 15 years.