LEWISTON — A woman was shot in the neck by police Tuesday after a chase through the city that ended in a crash on Central Avenue behind Raymond A. Geiger Elementary School.
Police say officers fired after Kristy Cookson, 28, of Manchester tried to run over at least one officer. Her gunshot wound was not life-threatening, police said.
Police Chief Michael Bussiere said no one other than Cookson was injured.
He said the chase began around Walnut and Howard streets when officers attempted to pull over a dark green 2005 Chevrolet pickup that was being driven erratically. Cookson allegedly refused to pull over and ended up speeding down Central Avenue, Bussiere said.
She lost control of the vehicle on a curve and crashed into a parked vehicle at 384 Central Ave. at about 5:40 p.m. The driver's side of the car was smashed and the back window was shattered. The crash pushed the car into two others parked next to it, but the damage to those cars appeared to be minimal.
"That's when the officers attempted to stop the woman, and somewhere in that incident it looks like she attempted to run at least one of the officers over, or was driving back and forth trying to get out," Bussiere said. "Both officers engaged her and fired shots at the vehicle and at the suspect. One of the shots did strike the suspect."
The officers involved in the shooting were Raymond Vega and Keith Caouette, Bussiere said. The Attorney General's Office is investigating the use of deadly force, he said.
Cookson eventually backed into a tree and police were able to get her out of the truck, Bussiere said. He said he believed the officers used a Taser because she was still uncooperative.
Bussiere said officers got out of their car and asked Cookson to get out of her vehicle, but she continued to try to drive away.
Cookson suffered a gunshot wound to the neck and was treated before being taken by ambulance to Central Maine Medical Center for nonlife-threatening injuries, Bussiere said.
"I heard the sirens; I heard the crash and I heard the (truck) in reverse," said Judy Cousins, who lives in a second-floor apartment at 384 Central Ave., where the incident took place.
"Police were flying everywhere," she said.
Cousins and other residents of the apartment building said between three and five shots were fired.
"From what I've been told by the officers investigating the driving and
what led up to it, it's a minor miracle that nobody else is at the
hospital tonight other than her," Bussiere said.
Bussiere said Cookson has a lengthy criminal history that includes several OUI convictions.
In 2005, Cookson was charged with being a fugitive from justice stemming from charges on six warrants from Florida, according to Sun Journal archives. The charges were dismissed. Cookson also was charged with at least two OUIs in Lewiston, one in 2007 and another in 2008.