Kristy Lee Cookson, right, appears with her lawyer, Heather Gonzales, during Cookson’s arraignment in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn on Thursday.

AUBURN — A Manchester woman pleaded not guilty Thursday to a string of charges involving an alleged high-speed chase that ended when she was shot in the neck by police.

Kristy Lee Cookson, 28, was held at Androscoggin County Jail in lieu of $15,000 cash bail. She appeared in Androscoggin County Superior Court to answer the charges, including two felonies. She pleaded not guilty to:

• Eluding an officer;

• Reckless conduct;

• Violation of condition of release;

• Unlawful possession of scheduled drugs;

• Driving to endanger; and

• Criminal operating under the influence.

Police said Cookson led them on a chase through downtown Lewiston in a stolen pickup truck, reaching speeds of 80 mph.

She crashed into a parked car and came to a stop, police said. Two local police officers drew their service handguns and shot at the truck when she refused to get out and it lurched suddenly in their direction, police said in court papers.

A bullet struck Cookson in the neck. A surgeon who removed it later called her “very lucky.” The round apparently mushroomed when it passed through a window before it lodged in her neck muscle in front of her vertebrae and behind her esophagus, court papers said.


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