A high-speed car chase through Bangor on Tuesday night started about 35 miles north of the Queen City, when Maine State Police tried to stop a silver Mercedes that they suspected was driven by 37-year-old Brian Saunders, who was wanted for earlier misdemeanors.
Those were among the new details that police provided about the chase on Friday. Besides reaching speeds of 120 mph on Interstate 95, the fleeing Mercedes also left the road near the Bangor Waterfront and led police for about a half-mile along a narrow walking path that follows the Penobscot River. No one was injured in the pursuit.
The driver was able to evade police that night, but Saunders has since been arrested on two outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court on earlier charges of operating after suspension. Police have not yet charged him in connection with the chase because they are still trying to positively identify that he was behind the wheel of the Mercedes.
Troopers first tried to stop the car on Interstate 95 in Howland sometime before 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, based on information that Saunders might be driving it in the southbound lanes, according to Sgt. Alden Bustard of the Maine State Police. They planned to arrest him for the outstanding warrants.
But when troopers approached the Mercedes and tried to pull it over, it instead drove off at speeds that reached 120 mph, Bustard said. They pursued the car and hoped to put spike mats down to stop it, but the fleeing driver made it to Bangor and exited the interstate before they had the chance.
Around 9:45 p.m., Bangor police said that they joined the chase when the Mercedes sped past a local cruiser at the intersection of Union and Ohio streets and almost struck another cruiser.
The chase continued through downtown toward the Penobscot River, passing Sea Dog Brewing Co. on Front Street and the city’s waterfront park, according to Bustard.
The Mercedes then left the road and continued along a walking path that goes behind Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion and follows the river, Bustard said. It kept driving on the footpath for about a half-mile and rammed through a swinging steel gate at the other end, in the area behind the Hollywood Casino.
A few Maine State Police and Bangor cruisers followed the Mercedes along the footpath, but one of the Bangor cruisers became disabled when the same gate swung back and smashed its windshield.
At that point, the vehicle eluded police. They suspect that it then continued along Route 1A into Hampden, where it was discovered abandoned the next day, according to Bustard.
Police have also arrested a woman who may have been in the Mercedes during the chase because she had an outstanding warrant for her arrest, but Bustard said they have not confirmed that she was a passenger in the car.
Bangor police eventually arrested Saunders early Thursday afternoon after learning he was in the city.
On Wednesday night, investigators went to Stockton Springs after learning that he might be there, but they could not locate him, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.