PORTLAND — A routine seat belt detail being conducted by Maine State Police in South Portland led to a car chase through the streets of Portland on Sunday afternoon.

State police arrested 47-year-old Lee Thurlow of Portland after he ignored an officer’s directions to pull over.

Thurlow was being held Sunday night 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 the incident began around 3:20 p.m. when 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 sped off in a Kia Sportage, leading Cropper on a chase that crossed Veterans Memorial Bridge and several city streets. Burton said the vehicles reached speeds of up to 40 mph.

“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 tried to get away.

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.


Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]


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