Two face charges after chase, crashes

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GREENE – A chase involving two vehicles, four police agencies and a pair of crashes Monday night ended when the suspect got a car hung up on a decorative metal milk jug on Hills Ridge Road.

Brian Coolidge, 40, of Bath was arrested on several charges but only after he was subdued by a pair of officers and a police dog after fleeing on foot.

Coolidge was charged with eluding police, theft of a vehicle, failure to submit to arrest and driving while intoxicated.

A passenger in the car he’d been driving, 34-year-old Joseph Jones of Dayton, was arrested on a charge of vehicle theft.

The drama began about 7 p.m. Monday when Sabattus police were called to a rollover on Roberts Road. There, officers found an overturned vehicle but no occupants, police said.

While the officers were looking over the crash site, a neighborhood woman approached to say that her car had just vanished from her driveway. Believing the two incidents might be related, Sabattus police broadcast the information to other area departments.

Meanwhile, volunteer Wales firefighter Michael Allen heard the radio traffic as he drove by Stevens Feed in Sabattus and spotted the stolen vehicle nearby. Allen began to follow the vehicle while calling the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department to report it.

A short time later, ASO Deputy Travis Lovering arrived in the area and pulled the vehicle over on North Temple Street, near Old Greene Road in Lewiston. But before Lovering approached the vehicle, the driver took off again, beginning a chase that would include several agencies over three miles.

Lewiston and Maine State Police joined the pursuit and for several minutes, they attempted to stop the fleeing vehicle. Finally, the driver turned down a dead-end section of Hills Ridge Road and met with an obstacle he could not get past – a metal milk jug that had been displayed on the front lawn of a local homeowner.

Police said Coolidge, who had been driving the car, got out of the vehicle and ran away. Jones, the passenger, was arrested immediately by Lovering and Lewiston police Officer Justin Kittridge.

While police searched for Coolidge, ASO Deputy Brian Smith arrived with his tracking dog Youno. Within minutes, police said the dog along with Smith and Deputy Randy Williams found Coolidge hiding behind a tree. He was arrested and taken, along with Jones to the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn.

Police said they are familiar with Coolidge from previous criminal encounters. In 1997, while living in Auburn, he was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for his role in a scheme to steal more than $70,000 from a bank machine in Ogunquit.

Coolidge was released on bail Tuesday. Jones remained behind bars Tuesday night.

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