A chase along the Turnpike reached speeds nearing

100 mph.

AUBURN – Police from four agencies were searching through woods along Washington Street Wednesday night after a man led police on a high-speed chase and then ran into the darkness.

A chase that started on Pleasant Street in Lewiston at about 11 p.m. ended on Jennifer Drive in Auburn after the suspect reached a dead end and ran into the woods, police said.

Lewiston, Auburn and Maine State Police were joined by Androscoggin County Sheriff’s deputies in the search for the suspect.

Police were using tracking dogs as they searched along streams and bogs in the wooded area between Beech Hill and Rodman roads.

The suspect – originally stopped on suspicion of violating a protection order – was believed to be armed.

Lewiston police officer Justin Kittredge stopped the man driving a Dodge Durango and began speaking to the suspect about an alleged domestic abuse, police said.

Less than a minute into the conversation, the suspect sped away and led police on a chase that covered several miles, officials said.

The suspect was chased onto the Maine Turnpike where speeds neared 100 mph, police said. The driver then exited the turnpike in Auburn where he drove for a time the wrong way down Washington Street.

Police were preparing to set down spike mats on the roadway in any area the suspect might drive to, officials said.

But as more police joined the chase on Washington Street, the suspect changed directions and sped up Beech Hill Road. From there, he turned onto Jennifer Drive and found himself at a dead end within approximately 100 yards. The Durango was left in front of a vacant house, the driver’s side door left open, police said.

After the driver ran into the woods, police arrived from all directions. While some entered the woods on foot, others checked nearby homes, a motel and a store in search of the suspect.

By midnight, the search was continuing. Police were setting up with binoculars in the area where the suspect was last seen. Others were checking homes in the neighborhood where the suspect might have acquaintances.

Investigators said they know the man being sought although they did not release his name during the search.

“We’re cordoning off the area and we’ll keep searching for him as long as necessary,” said Lewiston police Lt. Don Mailhot.

By early Thursday morning, police had spread out over a wide swath of land around the area where the Durango was found. Officers working in a light drizzle were watching a network of trails behind a mill building in the area. Others continued to work their way around the bogs near where the suspect was last seen.

While the search was under way, police were securing warrants to arrest the suspect once he was found.



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