September 11, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

(Continued from page 1)

South Portland Officer Chris Gosling stopped a Honda Accord at 11:47 p.m. Monday on Main Street after he determined the license plate belonged to a Ford pickup truck, police said.

After initially stopping, the driver of the Honda then accelerated south and drove through a red light at Cash Corner and through Thornton Heights. The officer stopped the pursuit but alerted other officers.

Sgt. Kevin Gerrish saw the car going east on Broadway, coming from Scarborough, a short while later. He tried to stop it on the Maine Turnpike spur but the driver escaped onto the turnpike.

Police identified the suspect as Timothy Berry, 19, of Portland. At 12:35 a.m., Portland police, responding to an alarm at an automotive business, found him on foot on Brighton Avenue, police said.

The Honda, which was reported stolen from Brunswick Ford, was found in the nearby Barron Center parking lot.

Berry was out on bail after his arrest in South Portland in July in a car stolen from Yankee Ford.

BATH

Shipyard still in running for Coast Guard contract

Bath Iron Works remains in competition for a Coast Guard contract that would allow the shipyard to design and build offshore patrol cutters.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, a senior member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and Angus King, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday that BIW is one of five shipyards left in the competition.

In January, the Coast Guard received design and construction proposals from eight contractors. That field was narrowed Tuesday to five.

BOWDOINHAM

Brunswick man walks away after car crash, fire on I-295

A Brunswick man walked away with only minor injuries from a serious car crash and fire Tuesday afternoon.

Kenneth Johnson, 50, fell asleep while driving south on Interstate 295, said Maine State Police Trooper Christopher Rogers in a news release.

The impact of the 2002 Honda hitting the guardrail next to the passing lane peeled back 50 feet of the metal and ignited the car.

Johnson was wearing his seat belt.

The car fire was put out quickly with fire extinguishers, Rogers said.

AUGUSTA

More cases of welfare fraud prosecuted, says LePage

Gov. Paul LePage says the state is prosecuting more cases of welfare fraud and abuse.

The Republican governor said on Tuesday that 45 cases of fraud were referred to the Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit in 2012, compared with 32 in 2011. His office says there were only 10 cases referred to the unit in 2010, prior to LePage taking office.

The state recently hired eight more investigators to tackle welfare fraud. LePage says he plans to introduce more reforms to the state’s welfare system next session.

Governor signs order to help suicide prevention efforts

Gov. Paul LePage has signed an executive order designed to boost suicide prevention efforts in Maine.

The order signed by the Republican governor on Tuesday requires the state departments to develop suicide prevention and awareness policies.

Each state agency will educate employees about the resources available to themselves or co-workers who they feel may be at risk for suicide.

FARMINGTON

Reduced charges for man carrying replica gun in public

Prosecutors have reduced charges against a Farmington man who prompted some people to lock their business as he walked around with a compressed-air gun tucked in his waistband.

John Cushman, 20, was arrested Aug. 2 on a felony charge of terrorizing, but that was reduced to a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed firearm.

Assistant District Attorney Joshua Robbins tells the Sun Journal that prosecutors did not think there was an explicit threat made.

The gun was a real-looking Airsoft pistol, but people could not see the orange tip that indicates it’s not a regular weapon because it was tucked in Cushman’s shorts.

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