AUGUSTA — A Winthrop man is accused of leading police on a high-speed chase through Monmouth and Winthrop on Sunday night, for the second time in just over two weeks.
Roland Pelletier, 62, told a judge Monday that he had recently started drinking again after a decade of sobriety because he got a medical diagnosis indicating he had five years to live.
Pelletier is charged with eluding an officer, criminal operating under the influence, criminal speed, violation of condition of release and operating without a license.
At his initial court appearance at the Capital Judicial Center via video from the Kennebec County jail, Pelletier shook his head when Judge Eric Walker read the charge of drunken driving.
“I only had two beers,” Pelletier said.
An affidavit by Monmouth police Officer Dana Wessling says he was in his cruiser watching traffic on U.S. Route 202 at 5:52 p.m. Sunday when an eastbound vehicle passed him at an estimated 90 mph in a posted 55 mph zone.
Wessling said he tried to catch up to it.
“The vehicle refused to stop, and with my lights and siren activated, the suspect vehicle reached speeds of over 100 mph, passing vehicles and not stopping at stop signsm” Wessling wrote. “The driver did slow down for intersections and curves.”
The 10-mile chase went into Winthrop and back to Monmouth, ending on a dead-end road where Wessling said he arrested Pelletier.
Wessling said a test later showed Pelletier had a 0.10 blood alcohol level.
Wessling’s affidavit referred to a prior incident, saying Pelletier “was chased by the Monmouth and Winthrop Police Department about three weeks ago under almost exact (same) circumstances.”
Court records show that Pelletier was charged with eluding an officer, speeding more than 30 mph over the limit and driving to endanger. In that case, speeds of 110 mph are alleged. The charges are dated March 1, and Pelletier was released on $400 cash bail on March 2.
On Monday, the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Christopher Coleman, asked that Pelletier be held without bail on a motion for revocation of bail.
He said Pelletier had a 2015 conviction for eluding an officer and five prior operating under the influence convictions.
Attorney Lisa Whittier, acting as lawyer for the day, said Pelletier’s most recent OUI conviction was from 2004. She asked for $5,000 unsecured bail with conditions. “Mr. Pelleiter, as far as I know, has a conditional license, which means he can’t drive with any alcohol in his system,” Whittier said. “He has appointments in Boston, Massachusetts, for his medical and psychological problems.”
Pelletier told the judge he was concerned about missing medical appointments if he remained in jail, and that he had “major depression, recurring,” as well as “AFIB (atrial fibrillation), congestive heart failure and chronic bronchitis.”
“You are worrying about your health in the long term,” Walker said. “I’m more worried about your health in the short term, and I’m also worried about the safety of anyone else on the road.”
“As a matter of public safety, I agree with the state that your bail should be revoked,” Walker added, setting a March 27 hearing on the probation revocation motion. Walker set bail on the other case at $5,000 cash, making that reviewable once Pelletier obtains an attorney.