PORTLAND — What started out as a routine seat belt detail turned into a car chase through the streets of Portland this afternoon.
State Police arrested 47-year-old Lee Thurlow of Portland after he ignored an officer’s directions to pull over.

Thurlow is being held tonight at the Cumberland County Jail on charges of eluding a police officer, operating after suspension, driving to endanger and failure to submit to arrest.

Sgt. Kevin Burton said Trooper Doug Cropper motioned Thurlow to pull over on the Exit 4 northbound ramp of Interstate 295 after he noticed that Thurlow was not wearing a seat belt.

Instead of stopping, Thurlow, who was driving a Kia Sportage, sped off, leading Cropper on a chase that crossed the Veterans Memorial Bridge and several city streets, Burton said. The vehicles reached speeds of up to 40 mph, he said.

“I wouldn’t call it a high-speed chase,” Burton said.

After leading Cropper along St. John Street, Brighton Avenue and Congress Street, Thurlow pulled over on Gilman Street and fled on foot.

Cropper, a former college football player, tackled Thurlow as he was trying to gain entrance to a home on St. John Street, Burton said. Burton described the residence as being “familiar” to Thurlow.

A brief scuffle took place before Cropper was able to subdue Thurlow. Portland police arrived a few moments later.

Thurlow and Cropper were both taken to Maine Medical Center where they were treated for minor injuries and released.
The incident began around 3:20 p.m. today.