JAY — A local woman driving a stolen vehicle faces 10 charges after speeding away from an officer, throwing him to the ground early Friday morning, according to Police Chief Richard Caton.
Melissa J. Couture, 34, of Jay was arrested on felony charges of eluding an officer, possession of suspected crack cocaine and heroin, assault on an officer and aggravated driving to endanger, Caton said. She was also charged with misdemeanor operating after suspension, operating under the influence, criminal speed 30-plus over the speed limit, failure to submit to arrest, theft by unauthorized use, and failure to stop for a law enforcement officer.
She also had an active arrest warrant for failure to appear.
According to Caton, Rider stopped Couture in an SUV at about 5:13 a.m. on Riley Road for an expired temporary license plate. She pulled into the Keneco Kwik gas station and gave Rider a false name.
While Rider was trying to identify her, Couture was standing outside the vehicle. She ran and jumped into the 2016 Toyota RAV4. Rider tried to stop her, but Couture put her foot on the gas pedal and took off, throwing Rider to the ground, Caton said.
The vehicle drove through the gas station lot and onto Route 4 heading north. Rider tried to catch up with it but could not, Caton said.
Livermore Falls officer Darian Nadeau spotted the vehicle on Jewell Street in Jay and it sped off north on Route 133, also known as Franklin Road, Caton said. A short chase ensued and she jumped from the SUV and fled into the woods off Route 133. The vehicle kept going into a ditch.
Livermore Falls and Jay police apprehended her.
Franklin County Deputy Andrew Morgan assisted. Lt. David Rackliffe and K-9 Justice searched for evidence.
The SUV was impounded. The owner reported it stolen.
Couture was taken to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington to be treated, Caton said, and booked at the Franklin County Detention Center in Farmington.
She was released on $7,900 cash bail Saturday, a corrections officer said.
Melissa Couture (Franklin County Detention Center)