July 23, 2013

Police audio details wild Saco car chase

A Massachusetts woman is scheduled to make a court appearance Wednesday after allegedly ramming three police cruisers in Saco.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

SACO — Monique Vallee, who authorities say damaged most of the city's police cruisers on the late-night shift, is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning via video on charges she intentionally rammed her car into three cruisers.

Monique Vallee

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This cruiser is likely a total loss after being rammed.

Courtesy of Saco Police Department

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Police on Tuesday released an audio recording of the harrowing chase as reflected in the radio traffic between Saco officers and dispatchers. 

The recording starts with a report of Vallee driving south in the northbound lanes of the Maine Turnpike and culminates with her arrest. Vallee was arrested after her car was disabled in its final collision with a cruiser. Police subdued her after shocking her twice with a Taser.

Police Chief Bradley Paul said it's remarkable that none of the officers and no civilians other than the driver were injured in the bizarre encounter, which put three 2011 Crown Victorias out of commission.

"We're down three cars but we're not down three officers, and for that I'm thankful," Paul said. "Cars, you can fix."

Police charged Vallee, 43, of Andover, Mass., with four counts of aggravated reckless conduct, three counts of assault on an officer and three counts of criminal mischief, said Deputy Chief Jeff Holland. She was taken to the York County Jail in Alfred later Monday morning.

The incident began just before 1 a.m. Monday when Maine State Police notified Saco police that a woman driving a convertible had been headed south in the northbound lanes on the Maine Turnpike and got off at Exit 36 in Saco.

Officer Donald Fiske responded, driving up the on-ramp from Route 1 to the Interstate 195 spur westbound. He encountered the convertible speeding toward him on the divided highway, Holland said.

Fiske was able to avoid a collision by swerving into the breakdown lane, and turned to follow the car. But the woman stopped, put her car in reverse and backed into the cruiser, Holland said.

The driver headed toward Old Orchard Beach, then made a U-turn and drove at Fiske, who this time swerved into the grassy median to avoid a head-on collision.

The woman then drove on I-195 toward the turnpike toll booth, reversed direction and drove at Fiske again, forcing him to swerve into the median to avoid a collision, Holland said.

The woman headed west again and abruptly turned off the highway at the Industrial Park Road on-ramp.

Fiske followed her down the ramp, but she again braked, and again slammed -- it's not clear whether she was going forward or backward -- into his cruiser, this time disabling it, Holland said.

At this point, the rest of the late-night police shift -- two officers and a supervisor -- arrived as Vallee started driving north on the turnpike in the northbound lanes, swerving from the far left to the far right.

With three cruisers in pursuit, she stopped, again reversed and backed toward the cruisers.

Officer Nicholas Stankevitz was able to maneuver out of the way, but Officer Matthew Roberts wasn't so lucky.

Vallee's convertible sideswiped Roberts' cruiser and then, as Sgt. Daniel Beaulieu pulled in front of her to box her in, she drove into his cruiser.

That maneuver totaled his cruiser but also disabled her car, Holland said.

Vallee refused to get out of her car, so the officers smashed the driver's side window and pulled her out. She fought the officers, who were unable to restrain her. They used a Taser to temporarily disable her, Holland said.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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This is one of three cruisers damaged.

Courtesy Saco Police Department

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This is the least damaged of the cruisers that were rammed.

Courtesy of Saco Police Department

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