AUBURN — A psychotherapist who specializes in treating veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder testified Wednesday that the defense attorney who represented a Lisbon man charged with aggravated attempted murder should have delved deeper into discussion of the disorder during questioning at his client’s 2010 trial.

Bartolo Ford is serving a sentence of 20 years with all but nine years suspended, plus six years of probation for a conviction on that charge.

He also was sentenced on six other counts related to a car chase, including aggravated criminal mischief, reckless conduct, eluding an officer and theft by unauthorized taking.

Ford is seeking a new trial, an appeal to the state’s highest court or a plea agreement offered by prosecutors before trial.

Edward Tick, who holds a Ph.D in psychology, was the final witness to testify on Ford’s behalf at the conclusion of a hearing on his post-conviction review in which he claimed in a petition that his constitutional rights had been violated at his trial.

One of Ford’s witnesses, who appeared in May in Androscoggin County Superior Court, was local defense attorney Leonard Sharon. Testifying as an expert witness, Sharon said that ineffective assistance of counsel was provided to Ford at his trial.

Ford’s lead trial attorney, Daniel Lilley, died in March.

Buttressing that claim, Tick testified Wednesday that Lilley appeared to lack a full understanding of PTSD.

Ford is a war veteran who served with the U.S. Army Reserve in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq during Operation Desert Storm.

Tick said he reviewed the transcripts of the questions posed at trial by Lilley of three psychologists who testified.

“Did the questions asked by Daniel Lilley show a fundamental understanding of PTSD?” Ford’s attorney David Bobrow asked Tick on Wednesday.

“No,” Tick said.

“Why not?” Bobrow said.

“In addition to not giving a full description and understanding of PTSD, the attorney did not probe at all into Mr. Ford’s military duty as a convoy truck driver and what that duty is like and how that impacted him,” Tick said.

Tick said soldiers are retrained in heart, body, mind and soul to be different people from their civilian selves so that they will respond in a combat situation without having to stop and think about their actions.

PTSD is a normal response to a threatening circumstance, Tick said.

“We can’t think our way through a crisis,” he said.

That’s one reason veterans are unable to accurately report what they’ve witnessed during such a situation, he said, because the actions aren’t the result of a conscious thought process.

Veterans like Ford can be in a psychological state of PTSD at all times during which they can go about their normal routines. Something can trigger a flashback that may cause them to react with their military training as a soldier would in a combat situation, he said.

Dr. John Dorn, the expert witness Lilley hired to explain PTSD at Ford’s trial, didn’t adequately explain PTSD at Ford’s trial, Tick said Wednesday. Dorn had testified that PTSD was “episodic,” a state of mind that can come and go.

“That’s not accurate,” Tick said. PTSD doesn’t stop when the sirens and flashing lights stop, he said.

Ford led local police on a high-speed chase that began on the night of Sept. 15, 2008, when Ford was spotted taking 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 cruiser and disabling the car.

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

A third officer then took up the chase. He 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 cruiser’s dashboard camera was played for the jury during Ford’s August trial. On the tape, the officer was heard shouting, “He’s trying to kill me!”

At the intersection of Routes 26 and 121, Auburn Deputy Chief Jason Moen took up the chase in an unmarked cruiser. When Moen switched on his flashing blue lights, Ford stopped, then chased Moen’s car and fled to a dead-end road. Ford 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.

“It’s possible for a PTSD sufferer to be in flashback and say, ‘This cop looks — I thought he was an enemy combatant, but after a while of calming down, of realizing he’s safe, of not being shot at, of not being intimidated, that he calms down and realizes he is in the United States and is safe and can correct the misperception and regain control,” Tick said Wednesday.

“So, PTSD oscillates, it varies, and when it’s stimulated by high stress and by threat, then the PTSD sufferer loses control and the lower brain activities take over and the training takes over,” he said.

Under cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Patricia Reynolds Regan, Tick said he hadn’t examined Ford nor treated him.

He said he had no information that suggested Ford had ever used a truck as a weapon during his service in the Persian Gulf War nor whether he had been trained to do that.

Justice Donald Marden said he would give Ford’s attorneys three weeks to submit written arguments in support of Ford’s petition.

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Bartolo Ford listens to Dr. Edward Tick testify in Androscoggin County Superior Court on Wednesday morning.

Dr. Edward Tick takes the stand in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn on Wednesday morning as an expert witness during a hearing of Bartolo Ford.

Justice Donald Marden listens to testimony in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn on Wednesday morning during a hearing of Bartolo Ford.

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