Canadian teens involved in car chase were originally headed to New Brunswick, police say

By Donna M. Perry, Sun Journal
Posted Oct. 19, 2013, at 5:46 a.m.

FARMINGTON, Maine — Two Canadian teenagers who led police on a car chase early Tuesday morning were on their way to visit a friend in New Brunswick, Canada, when their GPS took them to the U.S. border crossing at Coburn Gore, an official said Friday.

Investigators spoke to the 13-year-old girl from Pembroke, Ontario, who was a passenger in the car and have learned about the GPS route, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. The girl remains hospitalized in Portland for treatment of injuries suffered in the incident.

She has not been charged in the case, a state prosecutor said.

Christopher Berryment, a lawyer from Mexico, has been appointed to represent driver Zachary Wittke, 16, of Eganville, Ontario, according to court information. Wittke denied all charges, including eluding an officer, passing a road block and aggravated criminal mischief, in a Farmington court Tuesday. He is being held at Mountain View Youth Development Center in Charleston until an Oct. 30 hearing in Juvenile Court.

Wittke is accused of driving a stolen car from Canada into Maine without stopping at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on Route 27. That led to an approximately 50-mile chase along Route 27 that included ramming a Border Patrol vehicle, injuring an agent, followed by shots fired at the car by an agent, stealing a truck in Kingfield and passing several roadblocks. It ended with the car hitting a guardrail and the teens jumping over it and landing in the Carrabassett River in Kingfield. Both teens were injured.

Berryment said Friday that he had not had a chance to talk to his client but would be going to see him.

It appears the case will be tried by state prosecutors and not federal prosecutors.

On Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gail Malone directed a call on the case to Joshua Robbins, assistant district attorney in the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office in Farmington.

“I don’t think the U.S. Attorney’s Office will be picking up the case,” Robbins said Friday. The state has the case, he said.

“I have my state police and sheriff’s officers investigating,” Robbins said.

Robbins said he has been in touch with Crown prosecutors in Ontario.

“He’s been on probation there,” he said.

There are also warrants out for his arrest in Canada.

“I think the natural course of action is after he is done with the process here, he will end up back in Canada,” he said.

Canadian police are not allowed to release information about people younger than 18 due to the country’s Youth Criminal Justice Act.

 

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/10/19/news/lewiston-auburn/canadian-teens-were-headed-to-new-brunswick-police-say/ printed on July 23, 2014