SACO — A 43-year-old Massachusetts woman is behind bars after allegedly leading Saco police on a chase and ramming her convertible into several police cruisers.
Monique Vallee of Andover, Mass., is charged with four counts of aggravated reckless conduct, three counts of assault on an officer and three counts of aggravated criminal mischief.
The series of incidents that led to Vallee’s arrest began about 12:50 a.m. Monday, when Saco police received a call from the Maine State Police reporting that a convertible-style vehicle was heading south in the northbound lanes of the Maine Turnpike, near Exit 36.
The vehicle was believed to have left the highway in Saco, Deputy Chief Jeffrey Holland of the Saco Police Department said Monday in a news release.
Saco patrol Officer Donald Fiske was on Main Street about that time. Shortly after he entered onto the westbound lanes of Interstate 95, Fiske suddenly came upon Vallee’s vehicle — traveling at high rate of speed — headed directly toward him, Holland said.
Vallee was heading east toward Old Orchard Beach but traveling in the westbound lanes, according the deputy chief said. Fiske was forced to take evasive action, pulling to the right and onto the shoulder to avoid a collision. Vallee’s car narrowly missed sideswiping Fiske’s cruiser.
Fiske then made a U-turn and caught up to the suspect vehicle near the Main Street overpass, where it slowed to a stop, reversed direction and rammed the cruiser, Holland said.
After ramming the cruiser, Vallee sped off with Fiske in pursuit. She then made another U-turn and tried to again ram into Fiske’s cruiser. Fiske, however, was able to avoid a collision by driving into the grass median.
With Valley and Fiske now both headed west toward the turnpike entrance and the Industrial Park Road offramp, Vallee once again slowed and made an abrupt U-turn and sped toward Fiske, forcing him to drive into the median to avoid a collision.
Now operating the wrong way again, Vallee allegedly attempted to ram the officer, who avoided another collision and pursued Vallee’s car as it now headed toward the Maine Turnpike tollbooth, the deputy chief said.
After a series of maneuvers during which the vehicle stopped, started and reversed directions, Vallee proceeded from the Industrial Park Road toward the Maine Turnpike, with Fiske maintaining a safe distance between Vallee’s vehicle and his police car.
As both drivers proceeded from the Industrial Park Road onramp, Vallee again abruptly reversed directions, ramming and disabling Fiske’s cruiser, which received heavy front end damage.
Vallee then fled toward the turnpike again — this time with several Saco cruisers in pursuit, Holland said. Vallee now was headed north, driving erratically and swerving from the far left lane to the far right lane.
She again stopped suddenly and began backing up toward the police cruisers. One of the officers was able to reverse direction and avoid a collision but Vallee reportedly struck the driver side of a cruiser, Holland said.
The officers approached Vallee’s car and had to break the driver side window to get the door open. Vallee then became combative with the officers. That, Holland said, resulted in Vallee being tased by officers who were attempting to subdue her.
After a visit to Maine Medical Center in Portland for treatment, Vallee was taken to York County Jail in Alfred. She is scheduled to appear in York County Superior Court on Sept. 12, Saco police said.
The three Saco Police Department Ford Crown Victoria cruisers were damaged to the combined tune of nearly $25,000, Holland said. He said that two of the cars are repairable but likely will be out of service for several weeks.
In the meantime, Saco police will use a Ford Expedition that was purchased with asset forfeiture funds as well as two higher mileage vehicles that are used a backups when the police department’s regular vehicles are undergoing repair and maintenance, Holland said in his news release.
Police Chief Bradley Paul said public safety won’t be adversely affected despite the damaged cruisers and that no area of the city will see reduced patrol time.