Bail was reduced to $250 Monday for a South Portland man who is charged with leading police in York County on a high-speed chase that ended with a four-vehicle crash on the Maine Turnpike.

Timothy J. Williams, 39, made his initial court appearance Monday on a charge of eluding police. Police plan to seek additional charges of aggravated drunken driving and criminal speeding, said Kittery Police Chief Edward Strong.

Kittery police tried to stop Williams on Friday after he was clocked driving at more than 65 mph on the Route 1 Bypass, where the speed limit is 35 mph, Strong said.

“The individual was drunk. That’s one reason why we had to get him stopped,” said Strong. “He was just driving erratic and extremely dangerous to the motoring public.”

Williams slowed as he entered Interstate 95, then sped up, at times reaching 80 mph and swerving from lane to lane as he passed cars, police said.

The officer backed off from the pursuit, but kept Williams in sight and called in backup from neighboring communities and the state police, Strong said.

“We were trying to get a cruiser ahead of him to use spike mats” and gradually deflate the tires of the Hyundai SUV that Williams was driving, Strong said.

Williams passed through the York toll plaza, later sideswiped a van and then crashed about six miles north of the plaza, police said.

Williams rear-ended a northbound car carrying a family from Portland, including an infant and a 2-year-old, police said. The collision sent the family’s car skidding into a tractor-trailer.

Nobody was seriously injured.

Williams was arrested and held on $5,000 bail, but a judge lowered that to $250 during Williams’ appearance in Springvale District Court on Monday. Williams remained in the York County Jail on Monday night.

He has a tentative court date of Jan. 4, though that will likely change if he is indicted when a York County grand jury convenes.

Strong said his department will review the chase to ensure that it followed policy, but he said there is nothing to indicate that the officer’s decisions ran counter to the policy. He said the chase seemed prudent, given the danger that Williams posed.

Williams, whose state identification card lists his address as 50 County Way in Portland – the address of the Cumberland County Jail – has an extensive criminal and driving record.

He was sentenced to a year in prison in 2003 for drug trafficking in Maine, and has a history of driving violations in the state including charges of driving drunk and driving with a suspended license. Kittery police said he lives in South Portland.

Williams’ criminal history in Massachusetts is also extensive, Strong said.

He said Williams has been charged in Massachusetts with multiple counts of assault and carrying a dangerous weapon, driving with a revoked license, drug possession and domestic assault.

On Friday, Williams was driving a vehicle that a friend had rented, Strong said. He would not say what was found in a search of the vehicle.

 

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: [email protected]