Man wounded in shootout with marshals pleads guilty

A Biddeford man who was wounded in a shootout with U.S. marshals, then made the news again by circumventing jail security to have a tryst with a female inmate, pleaded guilty Monday.

Arien L’Italien, 22, admitted to assaulting a federal officer, being a felon in possession of a gun and using a firearm during a crime of violence. Under an agreement, prosecutors dropped an attempted murder charge. No sentencing date has been set.

Officials said L’Italien fired four shots at U.S. marshals who tried to arrest him in January in Portland’s Parkside neighborhood. Two of them returned fire and one of marshal’s bullets hit L’Italien in the leg.

The incident involved deputy marshals Michael Tenuta and Jesse Belanger and John Gill, a Scarborough officer assigned to the U.S. Marshals’ Violent Offender Task Force, according to a court document. The document did not disclose which of the law enforcement officers fired or who hit L’Italien.

L’Italien’s tryst with a female inmate March 9 led to his transfer from the Cumberland County Jail and an internal review by jail officials.

Two I-295 bridge on-ramps closed today for project work

Two of the Congress Street interchange on-ramps for the Interstate 295 bridge will be closed today.

The Park Avenue and Congress Street northbound on-ramps will be closed, but the off-ramps will remain open. The Maine Department of Transportation recommends the Fore River Parkway, Forest Avenue or Franklin Street on-ramps as alternatives.

Contractors have gotten a head start on the $7.9 million bridge rehabilitation project because of the recent warm weather. The MDOT estimates the bridge work will be finished in September and that night paving operations will end in October, depending on the weather.

For more project details or to sign up for email alerts, go to mainedot.gov.

N.H. woman pleads guilty to aiding York bank robbery

A New Hampshire woman accused of being the driver in the robbery of a York bank pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court.

Christie Hendrix, 34, of Manchester admitted to one count of aiding and abetting bank robbery in the Nov. 23 robbery of the Bank of Maine at 659 Route 1. She faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Hendrix was in the Manchester hotel room when Bernie Subocz, 43, was arrested five days after the robbery. Subocz is accused of claiming to tell bank employees he had a firearm and leaving with $10,865.

Hendrix was arrested in January after she met a Kittery police detective who set up a meeting by pretending to be a friend of Subocz and saying he could provide drugs to her, according to an FBI affidavit.

Her sentencing is set for July 9.


Snowe defends Sen. Brown, cites women’s issue support

U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine is urging Massachusetts voters to support fellow Republican Sen. Scott Brown, saying he’s one of a dwindling number of lawmakers willing to work across party lines.

Snowe, who recently announced she would not seek another term, said Monday that Brown is a critical vote in favor of issues important to women, pointing to his support for renewing the Violence Against Women Act.

Snowe downplayed Brown’s support for an amendment that would have let employers or health insurers deny coverage for services they say violate their moral or religious beliefs, including birth control. Snowe opposed the amendment, which failed.

Brown’s likely Democratic rival, Elizabeth Warren, has faulted his support of the amendment, saying it threatened women’s access to contraception, mammograms and maternity care.


Sebago driver hospitalized after SUV crashes into rocks

A Sebago woman was flown by helicopter to a Lewiston hospital Monday after a single-vehicle crash around 2 p.m. that forced police to close Route 114 for two hours.

Naldo Gagnon, chief deputy for Cumberland County, identified the victim as Pamela Boule, 53, of Sebago. Gagnon said Boule’s 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer left the road and struck several large rock outcroppings, trapping Boule inside.

She sustained serious injuries to her head and torso and was taken to Central Maine Medical Center.

The crash took place at Wards Cove, near the Standish and Sebago town lines.


King appoints a Republican, Democrat to campaign posts

Independent Senate candidate Angus King named a Democrat and a Republican to key positions on his campaign Monday.

Former Democratic state lawmaker Marge Kilkelly will serve as policy director and Republican strategist Edie Smith will serve as political and field director.

King has cast himself as the candidate who can bring the two parties together.

In a statement, Smith said “partisan politics have gone to extremes at a time when most Americans are in the middle,” and Kilkelly called King “the right person, at the right time.”

Six Republicans and four Democrats are vying to be on the ballot, and there are at least two other independents in the race.


Woman who was moving is now missing and at risk

Authorities say a 62-year-old woman last seen while she was moving from Lewiston to Bethel is missing and endangered because of a medical condition.

Fay Johnson is described by police as 5 feet 7 inches tall, about 140 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. She wears a medical alert bracelet.

Capt. Hart Daley of the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office told the Sun Journal that she was last seen more than two weeks ago in Bethel, where she was moving.

The last confirmed day anyone from her family had contact with her was around March 7. Daley said Johnson’s car, a green 2004 Subaru Forester, is also missing.


Two winners in Maine going to international science fair

Students from Greely High School in Cumberland and Mount Ararat High School in Topsham took the top spots at the Maine State Science Fair held Saturday at The Jackson Laboratory.

Meghan Currie, a Greely freshman, won the grand prize with a project that studied the oxygen production of brown and green seaweeds under different colored lights.

Meghan and second-place finisher Sam Wood of Mount Ararat High will be the first Maine high school students to participate in the Intel International Science Fair, to be held in May in Pittsburgh.

Jackson Lab took over coordination of the state fair in 2010. The lab received applications from 153 students at 10 high schools and several home-schooled students this year, a 47 percent increase over 2011 registrations.

Other participants represented Morse High School in Bath, Scarborough High School and Thornton Academy in Saco.


Falmouth, Lincoln Academy win drama championships

Drama teams from Falmouth High School and Lincoln Academy in Newcastle were named state champions in the 2012 Maine Drama Festival during the weekend.

Falmouth won the Class A title and Cape Elizabeth High School came in second in competitions held at Falmouth on Friday night and Saturday.

Lincoln won the Class B title and Yarmouth High School came in second in the competition held Friday and Saturday at Yarmouth High.

Team scores and individual honors are online at mainedramacouncil.com.


Maine ferry service receives first new vessel in decades

Maine has an addition to its state ferry service, the first in nearly two decades.

The 494-ton E. Frank Thompson arrived Friday at the terminal in Rockland. The Thompson will serve the Vinalhaven route, replacing the Governor Curtis, built in 1968.

The $9.25 million vessel, at 154 feet, is larger than the two current ferries that serve Vinalhaven. The new ferry can carry 22 motor vehicles and 250 passengers.

The Vinalhaven route is 15 miles one way and takes one hour and 15 minutes. Last year, the ferries carried about 150,000 passengers back and forth from Vinalhaven.


Maine man’s trial to begin in death of highway worker

A trial is set to begin this week for a Bridgton man charged with drunken driving and motor vehicle homicide in the death of a Massachusetts highway worker.

Jeremy Gardner, 31, is accused of hitting Gregory Vilidnitsky, 57, of Framingham with his pickup truck while Vilidnitsky was working on a paving project on Route 9 in Framingham on Sept. 14, 2010. Authorities said Gardner kept driving after he hit Vilidnitsky, stopping only when he hit a parked oil truck.

Police have said Walter Smith of Barre, Vt., a passenger in the vehicle, then climbed into the driver’s seat and tried to drive away. Smith is charged with driving under the influence and is being tried separately.


Charges unlikely for youths who took laptop from school

Police say they are unlikely to charge a couple of kids who apparently walked off with a laptop computer after entering Brewer Middle School through an open door.

Police said the 10- and 7-year-old boys went into the school Saturday afternoon, explored for a while, and walked out with the laptop.

Sgt. David Lord said the boys were caught by police, who gave them a firm talking-to and released them to their parents. Lord said the boys were scared.