Farmington driver faces charges in high-speed chase


FARMINGTON — Police say a local man driving 70 mph on the Wilton Road was arrested Wednesday after he failed to stop for an officer.

Robert Mason, 76, faces charges of criminal speeding for driving in excess of 30 mph over the limit and eluding an officer, said William Tanner of the Farmington Police Department.

Tanner said Mason drove toward town, turning onto the Farmington Falls Road where he reached speeds of 90 to 95 mph near the town cemeteries.

Mason was driving a Ford Freestar van west on the Wilton Road (Routes 2 and 4) when he met Tanner traveling east near Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Tanner said he turned his cruiser around as Mason pulled into the Farmington Ford lot and left without stopping for traffic. He almost hit two vehicles on the road, Tanner said.

He said he followed Mason into town and across Center Bridge. Mason turned onto the Farmington Falls Road heading east past the Town Office.

The driver had his flashers on and was honking his horn at other cars, Tanner said.

Mason turned onto High Street and went to Cascade Leisure Park, where his son lives.

Other town and county officers had arrived to help, and when Tanner pulled into the son’s driveway, Mason drove across a grassy area, nearly hitting another cruiser, Tanner said.

Police had dealt with Mason last Friday when he was speeding on his way to Augusta, Tanner said.

After they identified him, police backed off and followed him at a distance. They didn’t want to chase him through residential areas and the University of Maine at Farmington campus as he traveled north on High Street.

Mason went past his home on North Street and traveled out Titcomb Hill Road. Tanner went to Mason’s home to talk with his family. Apparently, Mason was not taking prescribed medication and the family agreed he needed a medical assessment.

Around 5 p.m. Mason showed up at his son’s home and the son called police. Town and county officers, six cruisers, responded. Tanner said they wanted to use the least amount of force they could to get Mason the help he needed.

He was uncooperative and had to be taken from the van and handcuffed. Tanner drove him straight to Franklin Memorial Hospital where Mason refused to cooperate with the assessment. The veterans hospital in Togus was called but would not accept him until he was evaluated at FMH, Tanner said.

Tanner had intended to give Mason a summons for the charges, but everyone involved agreed that an arrest would keep him from returning home and going back on the road, the officer said.

Police planned to talk with the District Attorney’s Office about revoking Mason’s license and perhaps requiring him to have medication administered by a doctor to ensure that it is taken.

No one was injured and there was no damage to any vehicle, Tanner said.

Mason went to court Thursday, and bail was set at $1,000 cash and a pretrial contract, according to an officer at the Franklin County Detention Center, where Mason remained Thursday afternoon.

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