UNION, Maine — The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in locating the driver of a car which led an officer on a high-speed chase that ended in a crash on Saturday night.
The driver of the vehicle has been positively identified as Claire Mitchell, 35, of Appleton, according to Knox County Chief Deputy Tim Carroll. After an extensive search of the area around the crash site, officers were unable to locate Mitchell and obtained an arrest warrant for him.
Mitchell is facing charges of driving to endanger, criminal speed, eluding an officer, operating after suspension, leaving the scene of a property damage crash, violation of conditions of release and refusing to submit to arrest, according to Carroll.
The sheriff’s department is asking the public’s assistance in locating Mitchell. Anyone with information is urged to call Knox County Regional Communications Center at 593-9132.
The chase began Saturday evening shortly before 6:30 when Sgt. John Palmer was notified by a dispatcher from Knox County Regional Communications, who relayed a complaint from Lincoln County Communications about a vehicle driving erratically.
A motorist had called to report that a truck was traveling from side to side in the road, crossing the centerline and almost going into the ditch on either side. The motorist also reported that his own vehicle was damaged as items such as tools and a tackle box were being thrown out of the truck.
Palmer located the suspect truck in Union and attempted to stop it at the Maritime Farms parking lot on Route 17. As Palmer approached the driver’s side of the truck, the operator sped off, according to Carroll. Palmer pursued the vehicle north on Route 131 and then onto Butler Road. The sergeant tried to stay right behind the vehicle but made the decision pull back as the truck hit speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour on winding roads with blind spots and hills, according to Carroll. The officer lost sight of the vehicle at times, but eventually came upon the truck crashed in a ditch off Butler Road.
The driver had fled the scene on foot but a passenger, who was uninjured, remained behind, according to Carroll.
Other police officers were called in as well as K-9 teams from the Maine State Police, but they were unable to locate the suspect.