PORTLAND (AP) – A man from Ireland who allegedly led police on a high-speed chase through Maine’s largest city before crashing his sport utility vehicle into an apartment building and setting it on fire has been ordered held in lieu of $10,000 bail.

After being treated for cuts and a broken arm, Wayne Noone, 23, was arrested on a charge of drunken driving and reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon.

No other injuries were reported when the SUV crashed into the three-story building on St. John Street early Friday morning, causing a vehicle fire that spread to the building. The brick foundation buckled from the crash and the SUV’s front end became lodged in the basement.

“I heard a big thud and then the police cars,” said next-door neighbor Mary Foley. “When we woke up, we saw the truck into the foundation there, and he was sitting on the grass, and all of a sudden that place just went up in flames.”

Officers evacuated the building and firefighters put out the fire, which damaged the side of the building. Damage from the crash and the fire was estimated at $50,000.

The chase began at 1 a.m. in the city’s Old Port district when an officer tried to pull Noone over for driving erratically, police said. The motorist sped off, almost hitting pedestrians at two intersections.

Police typically try to avoid high-speed chases in the city, but the potential danger to pedestrians prompted officers to set out in pursuit, said Sgt. Gary Hutcheson, head of the department’s traffic unit.

Noone was arrested in Portland three months ago on charges of public indecency. The status of his driver’s license was not immediately apparent because he is from Ireland and does not have a Maine license, police said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.