WINTHROP — A Waterville man was arrested Tuesday after he stole a truck from a Winthrop fuel company and hours later led police on a multicounty chase that ended when the vehicle flipped onto its side while making an abrupt turn, according to officials.

Paul Hatch, 37, was being treated at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta for injuries suffered during the chase. He is expected to be transferred to the Kennebec County Correctional Facility in Augusta after being released from the hospital, officials said.

The incident began after the Winthrop Police Department received a report at 8:25 a.m. Tuesday that an oil delivery truck owned by Winthrop Fuel Co. Inc. had been stolen at about 4:30 a.m. from the company’s garage on Peck Farm Road.

Sometime on Tuesday morning, the truck was spotted in Oxford, according to officials.

Chief Rickie Jack of the Oxford Police Department said Tuesday afternoon an employee with the Office of State Fire Marshal was in pursuit on Main Street, also known as Route 26, when Oxford police were asked to assist.

Officers shut down southbound traffic at Skeetfield Road, near ongoing construction on Route 26, and set up spike mats farther south, Jack said.


Instead of continuing north into the spike mats, however, the driver made a sudden U-turn at the Oxford Plains Speedway and continued south toward Auburn, officials said.

“That was all of the involvement that we had,” Jack said. “You know, my concern with this, especially coming into our town, is getting toward the construction on Route 26. We already had one person killed last week. We don’t need more. Plus, that leads closer to area schools, roadside businesses.”

The truck made its way through Androscoggin County and was headed up Route 202 in Monmouth, in Kennebec County, when an employee from the fire marshal’s office spotted the vehicle near Norris Hill Road at 11:52 a.m. That prompted a pursuit.

Lt. Dana Wessling of the Monmouth Police Department attempted to stop the stolen vehicle by activating his emergency lights and siren, but the suspect continued toward Winthrop, driving about 45 mph.

To intercept Hatch as he fled, Winthrop police officers positioned themselves near the Winthrop-Monmouth line, with Officer Andrew Delaney laying down a spike mat and Detective Savannah Brennan moving toward Hatch, who was being pursued by Wessling at the time.

As Brennan approached the pursuit at 11:56 a.m., Hatch swerved into her lane, allegedly attempting to hit the cruiser she was driving. The spike mat was ineffective, and Hatch continued heading toward Winthrop in the stolen truck while reportedly swerving into other lanes.


Hatch then made a left turn onto Main Street and then onto Highland Avenue, nearly colliding with two vehicles traveling in the opposite direction.

Upon reaching the intersection of Highland Avenue and U.S. Route 202, Hatch made a right turn back toward Monmouth, officials said. As the stolen vehicle approached the intersection of U.S. Route 202 and state Route 133, it hit the back of a truck hauling a cargo trailer.

The impact led Hatch to make an abrupt left turn onto Route 133, going in the wrong direction. Hatch quickly lost control of the vehicle, which then flipped onto its side.

At the time of the crash, the stolen vehicle was carrying about 1,100 gallons of kerosene and No. 2 fuel oil, posing a significant hazard, according to officials.

Hatch exited the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot, but was apprehended at the intersection of Abbott Lane and state Route 133 by the employee from the Office of State Fire Marshal and officers from the Monmouth and Winthrop police departments.

Hatch was taken by Winthrop Ambulance Service to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta.


Shannon Moss, spokesperson for Maine Department of Public Safety, said state police were aware of the situation and multiple police agencies were involved. Because the truck was allegedly stolen in Winthrop, however, Moss declined to comment further, other than to say the case would be investigated by Winthrop police.

Winthrop Fuel Co. Inc. responded to the scene to offload the fuel from the stolen vehicle, preventing ecological damage, according to officials.

Due to the extent of the investigation required at the scene, Route 133 remained closed for about three hours. Officials said Wednesday they were still investigating the crash.

A spokesperson for Auburn Police Department said the department was not involved and had no further information.

Lt. Derrick St. Laurent of the Lewiston Police Department said his department was asked to be on the lookout during the chase.

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