SABATTUS — A police standoff at a house on Sabattus Road early Friday led to a high-speed chase after the suspect drove through a garage door to escape police who had surrounded him.

Diego Martinez Sabattus Police Department photo

The state police tactical team surrounded the home by about 2 a.m., witnesses said, and were preparing to shoot pepper spray into it when the 31-year-old suspect, later identified as Diego Martinez, a local man with a violent criminal history in the Lewiston-Auburn area, came crashing through a garage door in a vehicle.

“I’ve been working in law enforcement for 35 years,” Sabattus police Chief Erik Baker said. “I’ve never seen someone come through a garage door like that. He obviously wanted to get away at all cost.”

Diego Martinez Androscoggin County Jail

What followed was a chase that entered Lewiston, with reports of the suspect traveling the wrong way down Pine Street at 100 mph. With dangerous speeds at play, police broke off the chase. Shortly after, the vehicle was reported to have wrecked on Washington Street in Auburn, near Hardscrabble Road. The suspect fled on foot.

Later Friday night, another chased ensued, this one involving the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department which pursued a vehicle through Poland and into Oxford. The car crashed near the Oxford Speedway and the driver was reported to have fled on foot.

Police at the scene reported that there was evidence that the driver may be Martinez and they called for a police tracking dog to assist with their search. About 30 minutes later, it was reported that Martinez was driving yet another vehicle and headed northbound. Police from several agencies were searching for Martinez in the Oxford-Norway area.


Shortly after 11 p.m., it was reported that the Subaru the suspect was driving had hit a porch on Carter Street in Norway, but Martinez remained at large.

Police consider Martinez armed and dangerous. According to police and court records, Martinez has a history of assaults, weapons charges and police chases similar to that which occurred early Friday. Other charges, including criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, domestic assault and sex trafficking, in 2009, 2016 and 2019, were dismissed as part of plea deals.

Most recently, in September, Martinez was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and possession of methamphetamine. Those charges were pending against him.

In the spring of 2021, Martinez led police in Massachusetts on a chase that led to a crash, after which Martinez reportedly fled on foot and swam to an island before he was captured. He was ultimately extradited back to Maine in that case.

Sabattus police and a multitude of other agencies had been searching for Martinez this week. Chief Baker said they received information either late Thursday or early Friday that Martinez was at a home at 573 Sabattus Road, near Riley Road. It was not immediately clear if anyone else was inside the home when Martinez was found. In criminal records, the home is listed as Martinez’s legal address as recently as July of this year.

Once Sabattus police were able to confirm that the suspect was there, they called from the tactical team and the standoff got underway.

By 2 a.m. Saturday, police from several agencies were searching for Diego in the Oxford-Norway area. The tactical team was said to be gearing up once more in Norway.

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