Chase runs through two towns


FARMINGTON – A Chesterville man led police on a chase from Farmington to New Vineyard on Saturday night before being arrested and charged with operating under the influence.

Phillip Caldwell Jr., 22, was driving his van through Farmington erratically enough for two others on Route 27 behind his car to call the police, Lt. Jack Peck said.

Sgt. Shane Cote and officer Ed Hastings found the van on Route 27 near Hammond Lumber and Good Times Unlimited. They signaled for Caldwell to pull over, but “he wouldn’t stop,” Peck said.

Cote and Hastings followed Caldwell’s van down the highway and onto High Street, then onto Anson Street and Main Street. Then Caldwell turned into the Franklin County Jail parking lot and “tore up the lawn” in front of the Sheriff’s Department, Peck said.

After that, Sheriff Dennis Pike and officers Scott Stevens and Scott Dalton began chasing Caldwell, too, at some points at up to 80 miles per hour on Route 27 into New Vineyard.

All the while, Peck said, Caldwell threw beer cans out the windows of his van. He also stopped short occasionally.

“It appeared the suspect wanted (police) to hit his van.”

After a short pursuit up Route 234 in New Vineyard and onto Church Street, Sgt. Cote used spikes to stop the van, Peck said. When three of the van’s four tires were punctured and the van went into a ditch.

Caldwell ran from police. Stevens and Dalton caught Caldwell, gave him a blood test to determine his blood alcohol level and arrested him on charges of eluding an officer, driving to endanger, refusing to stop for law enforcement, operating under the influence, and refusing to submit to arrest, Peck said.

Monday morning, Judge John McElwee set bail at either $1,000 cash or $5,000 in real estate and ordered Caldwell not to use alcohol or scheduled drugs.