Chase suspect still hospitalized

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LEWISTON — A day after he crashed his car during a police chase on Route 202 in Winthrop, a Skowhegan man remained in critical condition at a Lewiston hospital Thursday.

Glen Witham, 39, crashed his car into an SUV and flipped off the road at 2 p.m. Wednesday. He was being treated Thursday at Central Maine Medical Center for a variety of injuries. The driver of the SUV, 27-year-old Jenna Lawrence of Manchester, escaped with less severe injuries, police said.

Witnesses said Witham, driving a Dodge Stratus, was traveling well over the speed limit when he lost control of the car.

Police said the chase began in Greene when an Androscoggin County sheriff’s deputy tried to stop Witham’s car. He was wanted on felony warrants, although on Thursday, it was not clear what the warrants charged.

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Sheriff’s Deputy Maurice Drouin began to chase the car south on Route 202, but as the pursuit left Greene, he backed off at the instruction of a supervisor, police said. Drouin continued to follow the car while officers from other departments joined the pursuit.

In Winthrop, spike mats were thrown down but Witham was able to negotiate around them, police said. Monmouth police had joined the chase and a Maine State Police trooper in the area got involved.

A few miles beyond where he drove around the spike mats, Witham lost control and crashed into the side of Lawrence’s GMC Envoy, police said.

Witnesses reported it appeared that Witham had veered into the oncoming lane before trying to pull the car back. It was at that point that he crashed.

Maine State Police are investigating the collision.

Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins said his department was probing Witham’s criminal history while investigating their role in the wreck.

On Thursday, Desjardins released the department’s protocols covering vehicle operations, roadblocks and pursuits.

The 21-page document spells out considerations for when an officer should begin a pursuit and when such a chase should end. On Thursday, indications were that Drouin had ended the pursuit several miles before the crash, as the chase continued into other jurisdictions.

A Sheriff’s Department cruiser sustained slight damage after it was driven over some debris scattered across the road following the wreck.

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