WILTON — A Wilton man remained in jail Tuesday night, charged with escaping from a police van, assaulting an officer, breaking into a woman’s home and assaulting her, taking her vehicle and crashing it into a tree, police said.

Derek Cook, 31, of Wilton is being held at the Franklin County jail in Farmington on more than a dozen charges, Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. said in a news release.

Sheriff’s Cpl. Phil Richards was transporting three inmates from the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn to the Farmington jail, Nichols said. The van was on Route 133 in Wilton at 9:57 a.m. when Cook, wearing leg irons, slipped off one of his handcuffs and used the open handcuff ratchet to open the side door. When Richards noticed him, Cook threatened to jump out of the van so Richard pulled over and stopped.

According to Nichols, Richards confronted Cook, who fled into the woods “with Richards in pursuit. Richards caught him just off the road and the two fought. Richards was able to get Cook back to the van where Cook kicked him to the ground and fled down the road.

Cook ran to a house — still wearing leg irons — and “forced his way into the residence by kicking the door open where the startled female homeowner tried to call police,” the sheriff said. Cooks assaulted her to keep her from making that call and forced her to give him the keys to her 2004 Jeep Cherokee.

As Cook was leaving the woman’s driveway in the stolen Jeep, he was seen by Wilton Officer Gary Allan and off-duty Farmington Sgt. Ed Hastings who were arriving to help Richards, Nichols said. “Cook sped off on (Route) 133 toward Farmington with Officer Allen in pursuit,” Nichols said.

At the intersection with Route 2 by Franklin Memorial Hospital, Cook was intercepted by Maine State Police Trooper Bernard Campbell. Campbell was joined by Farmington Officer Bill Tanner, and the two pursued Cook onto the Knowlton Corner Road, the Webster Road, then turned east onto Route 156 and headed toward North Chesterville, according to Nichols.

Once in Chesterville, the vehicles continued onto the Valley Road and Dutch Gap Road before the chase ended when Cook lost control of the Jeep at the intersection with Zions Hill Road and crashed into a tree.

He was immediately taken into custody by Campbell.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office charged Cook with assault on an officer, escape and strong-arm robbery, all of which are felonies.

The Wilton Police Department charged Cook with robbery, burglary, assault, obstructing the report of a crime, theft and eluding a police officer. The robbery and burglary charges are felonies.

And, the Maine State Police have charged Cook with criminal speeding, eluding an officer, reckless conduct, driving to endanger and operating after suspension with an extensive driving history.

If convicted on all charges, he faces over 30 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.

Cook’s adult criminal record is extensive. It dates back to 2005 when he was convicted on a charge of criminal mischief in Farmington and fined $500.

He was charged numerous times in subsequent years with violating conditions of release. In 2012, he was convicted in Farmington District Court of stalking.

In 2013, Cook was convicted on charges of unlawful drug trafficking. A year later, in 2014, he was convicted of domestic assault and obstructing the report of a crime. He was sentenced to five months in jail.

On Tuesday, Richards was taken to FMH for treatment of injuries from the fights with Cook. Cook was also transported to FMH to evaluate his injuries, which were not life-threatening.

 


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