AUBURN — A judge on Friday ordered that a Lisbon man convicted in 2010 of trying to murder a local police officer during a high-speed chase be given a month to appeal his conviction and sentence.

Bartolo Ford, 51, had petitioned the judge in Androscoggin County Superior Court for a review of his Aug. 27, 2010, conviction and subsequent sentence.

His petition included several claims, including ineffective legal counsel. A hearing was scheduled to allow evidence to be heard supporting and rebutting his claims.

But that hearing was canceled after the state agreed that Ford should be allowed a period of time to appeal his conviction and sentence, and Ford withdrew the remainder of the claims in his petition.

In effect, the clock is reset.

Evidence would have shown at a hearing that Ford’s trial attorney sent a letter to him describing his rights for filing an appeal, said Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Worden, who appeared Friday for the state. The deadline for that to happen was 30 days.

Ford’s attorney drafted the letter and instructed his staff to send that letter to Ford at Cumberland County Jail in Portland. Problem was, Ford had been taken to Maine State Prison in Warren, Worden said.

“So, on that alone, that’s going to be a ground for relief,” Worden said Friday. “He’s going to be able to show he had insufficient notice to appeal.”

Worden offered a stipulation by the state that the letter outlining Ford’s appeal rights was sent to the wrong address.

Justice Donald Marden, who presided over Friday’s hearing, signed the order granting Ford’s right to appeal.

Ford’s attorney, Justin Andrus of Brunswick, said Friday afternoon that he was already at work drafting a notice to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in Portland, acting as the Law Court, of Ford’s plans to appeal.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to appeal the conviction,” Andrus said.

Ford was convicted of attempted murder in connection with a high-speed chase during which Ford rammed a police cruiser with a dump truck.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison with all but nine years suspended, plus six years of probation.

He also was sentenced on six other counts related to the chase, including aggravated criminal mischief, reckless conduct, eluding an officer and theft by unauthorized taking. Sentences on those lesser charges were to be served concurrently with the attempted murder sentence.

Ford had faced up to a lifetime in prison.

Justice Marden, who presided over Ford’s trial, said several factors had mitigated the sentence, including Ford’s military service, his diagnosis of port-traumatic stress disorder and the positive role he played in his community before the incident.

The chase started on the night of Sept. 15, 2008, when Ford was spotted stealing two concrete cylinders from a company on Minot Avenue. When confronted by a police officer, Ford fled in a dump truck.

When the truck hit a bump at a bridge on Hotel Road, one of the cylinders fell off and shattered in the road, puncturing the tire of the pursuing cruiser and disabling it.

A second officer took up the chase. Ford stopped, then rammed that cruiser twice, disabling it. That cruiser’s driver fired four shots through the door of the truck, hitting Ford in the hip.

Another officer then took up the chase and caught up to Ford in Poland, at the entrance to the Poland Spring bottling plant. Ford stopped, then rammed that officer’s cruiser head-on after turning his truck around.

Video footage from the dashboard camera of the cruiser was played for the jury at trial. On the tape, the officer was heard shouting, “He’s trying to kill me!”

At the intersection of Routes 26 and 122, the local police force’s deputy chief took up the chase in an unmarked cruiser. Ford stopped after spotting the blue lights, then chased the unmarked car. Ford fled to the dead-end Hines Road where he abandoned his truck in a stream and fled on foot into the woods. He later surrendered to a Maine State Police trooper on Route 26.

During his trial, Ford said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and at the time of the chase was having a flashback. He said his condition was aggravated by a recent change in his prescription medication and by the sleep drug Ambien, which he had taken that night. Ford said he had no memory of the chase.

[email protected]

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.