LEWISTON — A Skowhegan man who was driving a car being chased by an Androscoggin County deputy Wednesday was taken to Central Maine Medical Center with critical injuries following a crash on Route 202 in Winthrop.
A sheriff's deputy first attempted to stop Glen Witham, 39, in Greene, police said. Witham, who was wanted on warrants, sped away from Deputy Maurice Drouin and the chase continued down Route 202 into Winthrop.
Police in Winthrop were advised of the pursuit and officers there placed spike mats in the roadway. Witham managed to drive around the spikes, police said. But a few miles later, he veered into the left lane as if preparing to pass. Moments later, he tried to pull back into the right lane but in doing so, crashed nearly head-on into an SUV driven by 27-year-old Jenna Lawrence of Manchester. Police said Manchester is eight months pregnant.
Lawrence was taken to MaineGeneral Hospital in Augusta with injuries that police said were not life-threatening.
A portion of Route 202, one of the main arteries connecting the Lewiston-Auburn area with Augusta, was closed because of the crash.
The collision occurred in front of Winthrop Veterinary Hospital, just east of Main Street and just west of Route 135. LifeFlight air ambulance was sent to the scene.
One man who was driving south on 202 shortly before the crash said the fleeing vehicle came up behind him at a high rate of speed.
"I looked in the rearview mirror and he was right on my tail," said the witness, who did not provide his name. "I pulled over to let him pass. There were a whole bunch of police cars after that."
Moments later, the man said, the vehicles crashed in the roadway. Witham's car, a four-door, came to rest mangled in the grass at the side of the road.
Maine State Police are investigating the wreck. Early reports that an Androscoggin County Sheriff's deputy was hurt in the crash were not true, Sheriff Guy Desjardins said.
He said his department would investigate to determine whether all of the department's chase protocols were followed during the pursuit. Desjardins was waiting for a copy of the crash report late Wednesday night.
Witham remained in critical condition at CMMC.