A West Gardiner man is facing a host of charges after reportedly jumping from the driver’s seat into the back of his moving car in an effort to hide from a Richmond Police officer.
Scott Tucker, 39, who was driving without a license and wanted on numerous warrants, let his 2003 Chevrolet Malibu coast down Main Street as he continued to hide in the back seat, said Richmond Police Chief Scott MacMaster. Tucker’s escape bid was ultimately foiled when the car eventually stopped and he tried to jump out of the back seat to run away.
“He could not do so because the child safety locks were engaged,” MacMaster said.
Tucker was ultimately arrested on charges of operating after suspension, driving to endanger, failure to stop for an officer and violating conditions of release.
Tucker also was charged on six warrants out of Somerset County.
Tucker was taken to Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset and was later freed on $250 cash bail.
Richmond Police Officer Chris Giles tried to stop Tucker’s car shortly before 1 a.m. on March 12 for a faulty tail light. Tucker refused to pull over when Giles turned on his cruiser’s blue lights, and he continued to drive even after Giles turned on the siren, MacMaster said. Giles then turned on his cruiser’s spotlight and aimed it into the Malibu.
“That’s when he observed the driver jump from the driver’s seat to the back seat,” MacMaster said.
The driverless Malibu continued down the road at about 40 mph, careening from side to side off snowbanks and nearly causing a crash with another car, MacMaster said.
Tucker continued to lay prone on the back seat out of view of Giles’ spotlight.
As the Malibu approached the Parks Road intersection, the front seat passenger, a relative who owned the car but was not named by police because he was not charged, leaned over to try and control the car.
Eventually the passenger was able to bring the car to a stop, MacMaster said.
“He stayed belted in the front passenger seat,” MacMaster said.
With the car stopped, Giles moved in to try and get Tucker and his passenger out of the car.
Tucker, when unable to open the rear door, remained in the back seat and continued to ignore Giles’ commands, MacMaster said.
The passenger, meanwhile, “Pulled his jacket over his head and sat there,” MacMaster said.
Richmond Police Officer James Donnell arrived a short time later and helped Giles remove the men from the car without further incident, MacMaster said.
“Both were apologetic once they were out of the car,” he said.
MacMaster said Tucker, who apparently got lost on his way to Gardiner from South Portland, was not intoxicated.
“He said, ‘I panicked,” MacMaster said. “I hopped into the back seat hoping you wouldn’t see me driving.”
Craig Crosby — 621-5642