March 17, 2018
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Judge orders Appleton man accused of criminal speeding held without bail

Courtesy of Knox County Jail
Courtesy of Knox County Jail
Claire Mitchell
By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — A man who police say led them on two high-speed chases this year is being held without bail.

Judge Susan Sparaco ordered Clair Mitchell, 35, of Appleton held without bail on Friday afternoon until a June 24 hearing on whether his bail should be revoked for a February high-speed chase in Camden.

Mitchell was in Rockland District Court on Friday to make an initial appearance on new charges of eluding an officer, operating under the influence, operating after suspension, driving to endanger, criminal speeding and violating a condition of release.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald asked Sparaco to hold Mitchell without bail, pointing out that the chase last week in Union was very similar to the one in Camden.

In the Feb. 28 Camden incident, Mitchell failed to stop for an officer who ended the chase after speeds exceeded 80 miles per hour. The pursuing officer later found Mitchell’s vehicle had gone off the road and flipped. Mitchell’s blood-alcohol level was 0.18 — more than twice the limit at which a person is considered under the influence.

While on bail, Mitchell failed to report to Maine Pre-Trial Services. Fernald also pointed out that the defendant has three prior OUI convictions.

In the latest chase on June 7, the woman who was a passenger in Mitchell’s vehicle told police that Mitchell and she had been to a mud run in Pittston and had consumed a pint and a liter of Captain Morgan’s rum before returning to Appleton on Route 17, according to the police affidavit. During their return drive, the two got into an argument and items were thrown out of the vehicle.

One of those items, a toolbox, struck another vehicle, whose driver called police.

A Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputy located the vehicle in the parking lot of the Maritime Farms store in Union. As the officer approached the vehicle, Mitchell sped off. The woman told police that she saw the speedometer hit 100 miles per hour during the chase and that she asked him repeatedly to let her out but he didn’t.

The officer stopped chasing the vehicle because of the high speed and the winding roads along Route 131, but came upon upon the vehicle off Butler Road. The woman was not injured but Mitchell had fled.

He was apprehended four days later.

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