LEWISTON — Police surrounded a block of buildings on Oxford Street on Thursday after a fleeing suspect crashed a stolen truck into a car, a grill and a tree before running away on foot, leaving her wig behind.

Later Thursday night, police were searching for the driver and another young woman who may have been in the passenger seat when the truck crashed.

Androscoggin County Sheriff’s deputies had been following the truck shortly before 3 p.m. in an earlier theft in Leeds, police said. The driver sped away, leading them on a chase across downtown Lewiston before the crash at Oxford and Chestnut streets.

Witnesses described a female driver who jumped out of the truck when it struck a sedan while turning left onto Oxford Street from Chestnut Street. The truck rolled up onto the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street into outdoor grilling equipment, where it came to a stop.

“That truck came around the corner, hit that car over there and just kept rolling,” said Lewis Cheshire, who had been grilling chicken on the sidewalk in front of Place Ste. Marie. “They got out before it hit the grill, the trees and all that. They just jumped out and started running. Her hair was just flying everywhere.”

A long, brown wig was found at the scene, on the sidewalk a few feet from the truck. Police believe it belonged to the suspect.

Cheshire said another person may have jumped out of the passenger side of the vehicle, although he didn’t know for sure.

“It all happened so fast,” he said.

The woman was last seen running between a pair of buildings at Place Ste. Marie. Another witness reported seeing a woman running across Chestnut Street a minute or so later. The witness said he had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting her.

Sheriff’s officials and Lewiston police were on the scene seconds after the crash. They searched in and around Place Ste. Marie for the suspect, but by later Thursday, she had not been found.

Police said the woman driving the truck had taken the vehicle, along with other items, from a man she knew in Leeds. The theft was reported to police and a short time later, an officer spotted the truck in downtown Lewiston.

Sheriff’s Detective Thomas Slivinski was heading an investigation while the search for the suspects continued.

It was not immediately clear who owned the truck that crashed. The car that was struck, owned by a woman who lives at Place Ste. Marie, was extensively damaged. The owner was allowed to retrieve a baby stroller and other items from the trunk while police continued to collect evidence.


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