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Medway man involved in high-speed chase to get 10-year prison sentence

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Lauren MacArthur (left) stands with his attorney Hunter Tzovarras (right) at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012 while pleading guilty to charges related to a 14.8 mile high-speed car chase in Orono in January 2012. The state agreed to dropping a charge of aggravated attempted murder which stemmed from MacArthur swerving toward an officer during the chase.
By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — A Medway man who tried to hang himself in jail while facing serious criminal charges stemming from a high-speed chase in January entered guilty pleas to state charges Tuesday morning at the Penobscot Judicial Center.

Lauren MacArthur, 27, of Medway will be sentenced to serve two consecutive five-year prison sentences after Penobscot County Assistant District Attorney Alice Clifford dropped the most serious charge among seven MacArthur faced — aggravated attempted murder.

In exchange, MacArthur pleaded guilty to the remaining six charges: two counts of assault on a police officer, reckless conduct, refusal to submit to arrest, criminal speeding, violation of a condition of release and operating after suspension.

MacArthur was arraigned in June on federal gun charges — possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a stolen firearm — that arose from the car chase in January. His attorney, Hunter Tzovarras, said Tuesday that although no court date has been set on the federal charges, he anticipates that MacArthur will enter guilty pleas to them.

After approving the plea agreement Tuesday for MacArthur’s state offenses, Superior Court Justice William Anderson said the consecutive terms would be served concurrently with whatever federal sentence MacArthur receives.

“It’s a mandatory 15-year minimum sentence with the federal charge, so it’s very likely we’re looking at 15-plus years on the federal end,” said Tzovarras. “The main concern was to get the attempted murder charge dismissed, as there was factual dispute about that. The other concern was to have the sentence run concurrently with the federal action.”

Anderson accepted MacArthur’s guilty pleas and the two five-year sentences agreed upon by Tzovarras and Clifford as part of the plea deal, but delayed the official sentencing — at the request of Tzovarras and with no objection from Clifford — in order to give the federal case a chance to play itself out. Anderson set a sentencing hearing date for 8:30 a.m. Oct. 26.

The charges all stem from a series of incidents on Jan. 20 that included a 15-mile, high-speed car chase that started after MacArthur allegedly tried to run down an Orono police sergeant who was directing traffic after a University of Maine hockey game in Orono. MacArthur drove into Milford and French Island before being rammed off the road by a police cruiser on Route 178.

MacArthur fled on foot but was tackled and arrested.

Later that night, a resident found a rifle in a snowbank 162 feet from where MacArthur’s car was finally stopped. Another rifle was found a few days later on a riverbank that was below the spot where MacArthur’s car had swerved during the chase. The rifles were traced to a home in Medway that was burglarized Jan. 20 and 22.

“On the charges he pled to, he got the maximum sentences and they are consecutive, so that was a satisfactory resolution, and it’s to everyone’s benefit that we try to wrap this up globally with federal and state charges rather than piecemeal,” Clifford said.

MacArthur attempted suicide at Penobscot County Jail in July by trying to hang himself with a bedsheet, according to Sheriff Glenn Ross. Inmates alerted guards to the situation and he was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center and treated.

MacArthur was barred from owning or possessing firearms even before his 2005 Penobscot Superior Court convictions on five counts of burglary.
According to published court records, MacArthur was also convicted on four counts of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer, two counts of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, and aggravated forgery.

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