Woman shot by police 'very lucky'

LEWISTON — Two police officers who stood in front of a pickup truck fired their handguns at it when the truck suddenly lurched forward, a detective wrote in a sworn statement.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Kristy Lee Cookson, 28, of Manchester enters Lewiston District Court on Thursday. She appeared before a judge on charges including reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and eluding police during a high-speed chase down Central Avenue in Lewiston on Tuesday. The judge set bail at $15,000 cash or $30,000 surety.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Kristy Lee Cookson of Manchester listens to the judge as he sets her bail at $15,000 cash or $30,000 surety Thursday in Lewiston District Court. Cookson, 28, was shot by police during a confrontation Tuesday in Lewiston.

A surgeon who later removed a bullet from the driver's neck said the woman was "very lucky." The bullet apparently mushroomed when it passed through a window before it lodged in her neck muscle in front of her vertebrae and behind her esophagus.

The woman, Kristy Lee Cookson, 28, of Manchester appeared in 8th District Court dressed in a jail suit, a bandage wrapped around her chin. A judge reduced her bail from $25,000 cash to $15,000 cash. He also allowed $30,000 surety.

After chasing Cookson through town Tuesday evening, reaching speeds of 80 mph, officer Raymond Vega told Detective James Theiss that the stolen truck she was driving crashed into a parked car, then came to a stop, according to an affidavit filed Thursday in Androscoggin County Superior Court.

Vega got out of his cruiser and drew his service handgun.

Standing at the driver's side of the truck, Vega pointed his gun at Cookson and ordered her to stop and get out. He recognized her as the woman he had pulled over and arrested on Nov. 24 and charged with operating under the influence. She was released on bail.

Cookson looked at Vega and ignored his orders, he told Theiss. Vega saw another officer, Keith Caouette, run toward the back of the truck. Vega said he was afraid the truck might hit Caouette, so Vega shot at the driver's side tire.

The truck became stuck on a bank. Both officers moved to the front of the truck as it spun its wheels, the driver shifting from reverse to forward in an effort to free the vehicle. Then the truck lurched forward, they told Theiss.

"With the apartment building behind Officer Caouette and a retaining wall to his right, (he) had no place to retreat," Theiss wrote Wednesday in his sworn affidavit in support of a warrantless arrest. "Officer Caouette told me it was his belief that, based on Cookson's previous attempt to strike him and showing no desire to stop her vehicle at any time, it was her intention to strike one or both of the officers with the truck. Knowing how large the truck was, Officer Caouette feared that he would be run over or pinned up against the apartment building. Officer Caouette felt that this would either cause serious or fatal injury to himself or Officer Vega."

Vega was near the center of the front bumper; Caouette next to Vega toward the driver's side. Each officer fired two or three times. The truck backed up again, Theiss wrote.

Caouette told Vega to step to the side of the truck's path. Caouette fired his stun gun at Cookson, hitting her on her left shoulder. She eventually got out of the truck and was handcuffed, then taken to Central Maine Medical Center for treatment.

Cookson was charged with eluding an officer and reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon. Each of the felonies is punishable by up to five years in prison. She also was charged with violation of condition of release, a misdemeanor.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis argued for high bail, claiming Cookson had ties to Florida where she once lived and might try to return. He said she has a lengthy criminal history and poses a safety threat to the community.

Attorney Allan Lobozzo, who represented Cookson during her court appearance, said her family lives in Maine and she planned to stay with her mother in New Gloucester. He was seeking minimal cash bail and supervision by Maine Pretrial Services.

Judge Rick Lawrence set bail and conditions, including no operating a motor vehicle and counseling for anger issues, substance abuse and psychological issues.

Cookson has been charged 16 times in Broward County, Florida, according to court records there. Charges include child abuse, drug possession, eluding a police officer, resisting arrest and operating after suspension. 

In Maine, Cookson was convicted last year on one count of domestic
violence assault and sentenced to 120 days in jail, with all time
suspended. She violated her probation on that charge earlier this year
and served eight days in jail.

Since Cookson's Maine license was issued, she has been involved in
one previous accident and, since 2008, has been convicted of one count
of operating under the influence, operating without a license,
operating an unregistered vehicle, failure to pay a fine, failure to
display inspection sticker, failure to produce evidence of insurance
and three convictions for failing to appear in court on separate
charges of failing to report an accident, driving without a license and
operating under the influence of liquor. In 2008, Cookson's license was
suspended for seven months for failure to take a Breathalyzer test.


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Kevin Hanscombe's picture

CANDICEANNE From someone who

From someone who really was involved in law enforcement… and I don’t mean some elitist who thinks just because they have a college degree (which I do and so do many of the police working for that department btw) that they know more than the cops who are actually working the streets. You sound more like an elitist who has a bone to pick with cops. Like one of those people that want cops to shoot the gun out of some bad guys hand or something. I have to ask, were you ever a uniformed officer working the streets?

*The last I checked in the state of Maine they have not changed when Police can give chase. Not to mention that none of us really knows what happened that night. Not every state or municipality want to give criminals the idea that they can just run from the police.

*You have no way if knowing what transpired to question the officer’s decision that placed him in front of the vehicle.. is it possible that the officer had to cross in front of the vehicle for only a split second?? Who knows…YOU DON’T!

*Anyone with common sense or at least any REAL law enforcement officer knows that a flat tire does not disable a vehicle?? I mean really…college didn’t teach you that.

There is always something to be learned from every situation. But that does not mean the officers acted inappropriately. I too was involved in Law Enforcement both out of state and here in Maine and I know better then to judge someone or some incident before having ALL of the facts. I am not Obama.

I really don’t detect any law enforcement background in your posts; maybe you realized you couldn’t cut it, or maybe it’s been so long you forgot what it’s like to be on the street and having to make these decisions.

Erin Cox's picture

Nice how Candiceanne can

Nice how Candiceanne can give us a full synopsis of what the Officers should have done in this incident. All traffic stops are text book perfect aren't they Candicanne. Amazing how you already have drawn diagrams of where all vehicles were located and positioned, where all officers were positioned while the vehicle was still moving. You must either have a crystal ball or was onscene during the incident (both of which I highly doubt). I'll give you credit, you've done some research online. Yes an officer during routine traffic stops never approaches a vehicle from the front or back but up along the side with hand on holster ready to draw...but wait this wasn't a routine traffic stop was it? She was fleeing from the get go. Can I also ask Candicanne whats LPD pursuit policy? Your research, as you claim, to only follow in a pursuit if its a violent offender is wrong. Majority of departments have a pursuit policy for speeds, types of offenses committed for a pursuit, weather conditions, road conditions and amount of traffic on a roadway. Most of the time officers have no way to identify who is behind the wheel until they actually stop the vehicle, unless they have your magic crystal ball. Its kind of hard to know if the driver is a violent offender in every stop. Its also funny how you give the offender due process and time to gather facts about the incident but have already passed verdict on the officers involved, who possibly were following training and standard operating procedures put in place by their department. Heres a clue next time you want to claim to be some kind of professional...know your facts.

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I love you Erin! :D

I love you Erin! :D

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Thank you lex3379!!!

Thank you lex3379!!! Finally, a voice of reason!

 's picture

candiceanne...there is a

candiceanne...there is a lesson to be learned...don't try to run from the police and don't try to run over an armed policeman. ANYTHING else is pure speculation from your part. By the way what with this "we" stuff? You were not there so please do not interject yourself into this scenario. I hope you,as an instructor,do so in an unbiased and impartial manner, but I have a feeling that may not be the case. Teach children or adults THE FACTS not opinion, something the mainstream media has forgotten or refuses to do.

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Yea, Robert. If your kid or

Yea, Robert. If your kid or grandkid was playing in that yard on central ave, I'm sure your first reaction would be, "Thank God the police gave chase" rather than running the plate and determining who the driver is." But who cares about innocent bystanders when you can get a testosterone rush?

Erin Cox's picture

Yes Sandra2 because everyone

Yes Sandra2 because everyone drives the vehicle that is registered to them and never drives someone elses vehicle. Knowing who the driver was, in this instance, would help in a decision to pursue how? Please don't tell me you'd suggest letting them drive home and contacting them later, especially when the driver war reported to be driving irratically or in a dangerous way before hand. I'm sure an instant bystander wouldn't have mind the officers allowing her to run over one of them. Damned if you do, Damned if you don't. Stop with the sterotypes all ready and realize CSI is not real life.

ERNEST LABBE's picture

Lets get back to the

Lets get back to the article. A judge what judge? Whats his/her name? Why not drop the bail to ten bucks then she could be out on the street faster. Officer Vega arrested this person on Nov 24 for OUI. Less than two weeks later she is back in custody for the same and numerous other charges. In stead of lowering her bail it should have been raised to a million. She obviously has no regard for the law. It's time to show her that we mean business.

RONALD RIML's picture

Earnest writes: "In stead

Earnest writes: "In stead of lowering her bail it should have been raised to a million"

Just what is it that you have against the Constitution of the United States, Earnest??

Bill of Rights, 8th Amendment to the Constitution: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

When I was a young Sailor - I drank like a Sailor, fought like a Sailor, and screwed like a Sailor. Now that I am old and wise - I have a few scars, but many fond memories.

RONALD RIML's picture

Recalling my training some

Recalling my training some 35 years ago at the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois, it was hammered home to we rookies that our bodies were not an appropriate object to place in front of a fleeing motorist - (cruisers, perhaps) - but never one's body - even if armed. It mostly dealt with physics; mass, momentum, the impossibility of two objects occupying the same space, etc - and really didn't have a whole heck of a lot to do with any legal variables. One simply doesn't place themselves in an untenable position.

But once they have - it all goes downhill from there......

When I was a young Sailor - I drank like a Sailor, fought like a Sailor, and screwed like a Sailor. Now that I am old and wise - I have a few scars, but many fond memories.

Robert Hack Jr.'s picture

send her back to Fla and let

send her back to Fla and let them deal with her save us some $$$$$ here we go again paying and paying wish someone would wake up and smell the coffee.

Kevin Hanscombe's picture




This woman has absolutely no

This woman has absolutely no respect for the law. She has a record that should have had her in jail, not driving the streets of Lewiston. It is only a matter of time before one of us becomes her victim. The officers recognized the threat and took action. Good job LPD. The biggest problem here is with our juducial system who should have had her behind bars and a threat to no one but the jail guards. It is amazing how a person can continually show she that laws do not apply to her and keeps getting away with it. She will probably get out of this with a hand slap. If so, hopefully she will take her show to another state.

Kevin Hanscombe's picture

I guess it's pretty easy to

I guess it's pretty easy to pass judgment on a situation that none of us were there at. Fact is Lewiston Police are very well trained and extremely professional. The Police department was the first department in Maine to be nationally accredited, is highly regarded and serves as a leader in the law enforcement community. Officers not only have to meet strict entry requirements to be hired and accepted into the academy but also undergo extensive and continuous in-service training throughout their career. Nobody is perfect 100% of the time but when it comes to situations like these my benefit usually sides with the young men and women in uniform who are working on the front lines and are forced to put themselves in these precarious situations making split second decisions only to be Monday morning quarter backed by, I’ll just say “less then credible” citizens who have no idea what occurred.

Leslie Michaud's picture

I'd say the police were very

I'd say the police were very lucky, this out of control woman could have killed them. She still should have been in jail on domestic violence charges, if she were a man would she be let loose with no time served? These crazy substance abusers need to be helped somehow, they are a drain on society.

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Where are u from T

Where are u from T wonderland?Could be ur an idiot north woods.How do u know that State Worker?Were u there?Last time i checked accused are innocent til proven guilty.

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Her previous record is

Her previous record is enough for me!

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Where are u from T

Where are u from T wonderland?Could be ur an idiot north woods.How do u know that State Worker?Were u there?Last time i checked accused are innocent til proven guilty.

 's picture

She was trying to run the

She was trying to run the police officers over!!! Well call me stupid, but I think that gives them the right to shoot to kill. Boy, some people always just seem to focus on the negatives and stir up a bunch of controversy! Drama, Drama, Drama!


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