SOUTH PARIS — A Woodstock man who police said led them on a motor vehicle chase Friday through southern Oxford County that left a Portland woman in critical condition denied he violated conditions of his probation stemming from an “eerily similar” 2019 vehicular manslaughter conviction.

Ethan Rioux-Poulios of Woodstock appears in Oxford County Superior Court by videoconference from Oxford County Jail in South Paris on Monday after he was charged with a half-dozen crimes stemming from a car chase on Friday. Screenshot from video

Ethan Rioux-Poulios, 26, appeared in Oxford County Superior Court by videoconference Monday from the Oxford County Jail for an initial appearance on six charges stemming from the chase, his face showing lacerations from the crash.

He is charged in a criminal complaint alleging two counts of aggravated assault, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, eluding an officer, driving to endanger, leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury or death.

Because some of the charges are felonies, Rioux-Poulios wasn’t asked to enter a plea on any of the charges. Felony charges are brought by prosecutors to a grand jury to determine whether probable cause exists for indictment in order for a felony case to proceed to trial.

Rioux-Poulios said he didn’t know whether he would be seeking a court-appointed attorney or hiring one privately, as he did to represent him on a manslaughter charge in connection with a 2019 fatal crash.

In that incident, the car he had been driving slammed into the back of a vehicle on state Route 26 in West Paris while fleeing from an Oxford County Sheriff’s Office deputy, killing the 70-year-old John Pikiell of Norway whose vehicle was propelled into a tree from the collision. Rioux-Poulios fled from the scene and was later located at a home in South Paris.


He was sentenced July 2021 to seven years in prison, with all of that time — except two years — suspended. His Maine driver’s license was to be suspended indefinitely by the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles and couldn’t be reinstated for at least a decade.

Rioux-Poulios on Monday denied charges that he violated conditions of his probation stemming from that crash because of the new criminal conduct he was charged with Friday.

Assistant District Attorney Patricia Mador was seeking Monday to have Rioux-Poulios held without bail pending a hearing on charges he violated his probation conditions.

“This defendant’s conduct was egregious,” she said. “He placed many, many individuals — in addition to the parties that were actually injured — in serious risk of injury. And it is eerily similar to the factual predicate of the manslaughter conviction for which he is currently on probation.”

Mador asked that Rioux-Poulios’ bail be set at $75,000 cash on the new charges.

The judge agreed with Mador on bail, but said Rioux-Poulios could argue for lower bail on the new charges at a later date.


Bail conditions include no contact with the crash victims from Friday, no alcohol and illegal drugs. He must not operate a motor vehicle unless he holds a valid driver’s license.

Emergency responders work Friday night on Oxford Street in Paris where police say a pickup truck and another vehicle collided head-0n, causing the truck to burst into flames. At least one person was critically injured, police said. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Authorities said Nicole Kumiega, 28, of Portland was driving a Ford Escape on Friday evening when it was struck on Oxford Street in Paris by Rioux-Poulios, who was driving a pickup truck.

Kumiega was first taken to Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway, then flown by a LifeFlight of Maine to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where she remained in critical condition Monday, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Rioux-Poulios was evaluated at Stephens Memorial Hospital after he was taken into custody and then was transported to Oxford County Jail.

A passenger in the Ford Escape was taken to Stephens Memorial Hospital, treated, then released.

The chase began about 5:10 p.m. Friday, when the Oxford Police Department received a report of a Ford F-150 pickup truck being driven erratically on Mechanic Falls Road in Oxford.


Oxford police attempted to catch up with the truck, which was reported by witnesses to be striking other vehicles on Route 26 in Oxford while passing them headed north. He turned onto Oxford Street where he continued to pass unsafely then lost control of the truck and slammed into the Ford Escape, causing it to go off the road and into trees.

Kumiega was trapped in her vehicle and special equipment was called for to help remove her.

Witnesses reported the driver of the truck escaped from his burning truck with a gash on his head and ran into nearby woods behind a school. Police received reports that the man had stolen a vehicle and was headed back toward Norway.

State troopers located the stolen vehicle on Yeaton Swamp Road, which goes from Allen Hill Road in Oxford to Gore Road in Otisfield. The stolen vehicle sped off and troopers engaged in a pursuit.

The chase continued from Otisfield to Norway, where troopers tried unsuccessfully to use spike mats to disable it.

During the chase, the driver was reported to have gained speeds of up to 75 mph and was said to be passing long lines of cars in an attempt to elude police. The pursuit went back to Oxford and south on Route 26 with Maine State Police, Oxford County Sheriff’s Office, Norway, Paris and Oxford police departments all involved.

A state trooper was able to nudge the stolen vehicle off Route 121 near the intersection with Allen Hill Road in Oxford sometime after 6 p.m. Rioux-Poulios was taken into custody.

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