October 17, 2013

Maine chase suspect mentally ill, mother says

A 13-year-old girl with him, injured while trying to escape after a crash, is in stable condition.

By DOUG HARLOW Morning Sentinel

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Robbins said there is no indication that the 13-year-old girl was with Wittke against her will.

Robbins said it seems the couple came to the border accidentally, possibly trying to go someplace else, panicked when they saw the border station and set off the police chase.

The station on two-lane Route 27 is small, and no gate blocks the road.

Constable Chuck Benoit, media relations officer for the Ottawa Police Department, said Wednesday the investigation into the stolen vehicle in his jurisdiction remains open. Benoit said a third car may have been stolen before the teens allegedly stole the pickup truck in Kingfield, bringing the total number of stolen vehicles to four.

The crime spree started over the weekend with a stolen vehicle in Ontario. A car matching the description of the one stolen was recovered by police in Bells Corners, in southwest Ottawa, Benoit said.

A second vehicle was stolen in Ottawa, Benoit said. Police in Maine said that car, chased by Canada police, was found abandoned in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

The couple allegedly then stole another car and entered the U.S. late Monday night or early Tuesday morning in Coburn Gore, where U.S. Border Patrol agents gave chase down winding, two-lane Route 27. The fleeing car and a Border Patrol vehicle collided near Stratton, about 30 miles from the border near Eustis, and the agents fired shots at the car, which kept heading south toward Kingfield, 20 miles farther south, where they stole the pickup truck.

The chase finally ended at the bridge in Kingfield, where the teenagers jumped into the river.

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:

dharlow@centralmaine.com

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