LISBON — A wild 1.8 mile, seven-minute chase through side streets in downtown Lisbon Falls, which began when a ¾-ton pickup truck slammed backwards into the front of a police cruiser, led to a foot chase early Sunday morning.

When it was over, police arrested Willard Garland Jr., 42, who was wanted on a felony fugitive from justice warrant out of Florida.

The chase began at 2:38 a.m., when Sgt. Scott Stewart, who was on routine patrol on Route 196 in Lisbon Falls, became suspicious when he observed the truck’s rear license plate dangling.

Stewart followed Garland’s truck onto Booker Street, then onto Bend Street, where it turned into a driveway. As the officer was preparing to exit the cruiser, he saw the backup lights come on, and Garland allegedly stepped on the gas pedal and rammed the front of the police car, police said.

The force of the impact caused the truck and the police car to spin around, and they ended up facing each other. 

Garland then sped away from the scene, heading down Booker Street, onto Union Street, went over a curbing and behind the House of Pizza and back onto Route 196 in an easterly direction; slowed down by Crafts Auto Sales, turned onto Birch Street, then onto Maple Street, with the police car flashing blue lights behind him.

Stewart clocked the truck at 65 mph down the hill at Maple Street.

The truck’s brakes locked up at the Main Street intersection, and it became airborne over Main Street. It landed on Union Street.

By this time, police said, debris from the back of the truck was scattered over the road.

The chase continued on down Union Street, back onto Route 196, and then onto Pleasant, Vining and School streets. As the truck headed back toward Route 196, it went into Downeast Energy’s parking lot on School Street, failed to negotiate a curve and struck a tree, police said.

The driver then bolted from the truck and fled on foot toward Pleasant Street with Stewart running behind him. Garland then ran up the stairway of a nearby apartment house, opened a window and jumped into the bedroom of a sleeping woman, who was awakened and started screaming, police said.

Undeterred, Garland ran through the apartment, out the door and down the stairs to street level, police said. He continued running behind houses, with the officer still chasing him. Stewart found him behind a shed and arrested him at 2:45 a.m., just 7 minutes after the chase started. The two struggled, but the officer was able to handcuff Garland and take him into custody.

Garland, whose exact address was undetermined, is believed to have been staying in the Lisbon area.

He was arrested on charges of eluding a police officer, operating under the influence, aggravated criminal mischief (hitting the police car), carrying a concealed weapon, burglary, attachment of false plates, refusing to submit to arrest and operating without a license, Chief of Police David Brooks said.

When police checked Garland’s criminal record, they learned he was wanted on a felony fugitive-from-justice warrant by the Volusia County, Fla., sheriff’s office. The warrant indicates it will extradite nationwide, Brooks said, and the sheriff is prepared to send two officers to pick up Garland and return him to Florida.

Garland was taken to the Androscoggin County Jail, where he was being held without bail Sunday night.

Garland’s last known Maine address was in Bath, police said. The 1988 Ford F250 pickup Garland was driving was previously registered to a Lisbon resident, leading police to believe he may have been staying in the area.

The accident investigation was conducted by an outside police agency. Damage to the front of the police car, which is now out of service, was estimated at $3,500.


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