Lewiston, state and county police talk last summer on Canal Street in Lewiston where a high-speed chase ended in a crash. The offending vehicle sits on a tow truck at right. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — A judge sentenced a local man to serve nine months in jail on multiple charges stemming from two police pursuits last year on city streets.

Joseph Michael Gallo Lewiston Police Department photo

Joseph Michael Gallo, 31, appeared in 8th District Court on Monday by videoconference to plead guilty to four felonies, two of them from an Aug. 27 chase and two from a chase in a stolen pickup truck on Oct. 10.

In that case, Gallo drove off in a pickup truck parked at Lepage Bakery by a worker who left his keys in the truck.
Police pursued the truck that sped up to 25 mph over the posted limit.

He abandoned the truck on Bartlett Street and fled on foot, but was caught by police, who recovered from the truck a hypodermic needle with liquid in it, a bag of methamphetamine and a sedative for which he had no prescription.

His license had been suspended.

Two months earlier, Gallo had led police on a high-speed chase starting in Auburn and continuing into downtown Lewiston, hitting one vehicle and nearly causing several crashes with other vehicles, then struck a guardrail and fire hydrant on Canal Street. He fled on foot from the car he was driving and ran into a moving police cruiser. He got up and ran into a nearby parking lot, eventually surrendering  to police in a nearby alley, according to an affidavit.

Police found a hypodermic syringe on the driver’s seat of the car.

Gallo’s license had been suspended for operating under the influence. He’d had two convictions for operating with a suspended license and an OUI within the past decade.

On Monday, Gallo pleaded guilty in connection to the Aug. 27 chase to felony reckless conduct and eluding an officer, both Class C felonies, each punishable by up to five years in prison.

In a plea agreement, he was sentenced on the eluding charge to four years in prison, with all of that time suspended except for nine months in jail. He will serve nine months on the reckless conduct charge at the same time as the eluding sentence followed by two years of probation.

Sentences of six months apiece to misdemeanor charges of OUI and refusing to submit to arrest or detention will be served at the same time as the felony.

For felony charges of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and theft by unauthorized use of property with priors, each a Class C crime punishable by up to five years in prison, Gallo was sentenced to nine months apiece. That sentence will run concurrent with time he’d serve on the other two felonies, according to the plea agreement.

He also pleaded guilty to misdemeanors in that incident, including violating condition of release, operating while license suspended or revoked, driving to endanger and failing to stop for an officer.

For each of those charges, he’ll serve three months at the same time as his nine-month sentence for the felony crime of eluding an officer.

He has already served more than half of his sentence in Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn awaiting the final disposition of his case.

A judge suspended his license for 180 days in the October case and for three years in the August case.

Conditions of his probation include no use of alcohol or illegal drugs and marijuana for which he can be searched and tested at random.

He must complete evaluation and counseling for substance abuse.

Gallo also will have to pay more than $10,000 in restitution in damage he caused to other vehicles.

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