LEWISTON — Two 14-year-old boys accused of taking a front-end loader on a dangerous, low-speed chase Sept. 12 will remain in custody at Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland after their first appearance Tuesday in Lewiston District Court.

Matthew Newton-Fortin of Auburn and Shawn Demarest of Litchfield are each charged with eight felonies.

Through his attorney, Newton-Fortin chose not to enter an answer to the charges. Demarest entered a denial of the allegations, the equivalent in the juvenile justice system of pleading not guilty.

Both are charged with two counts of attempted elevated aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated criminal mischief, two counts of attempted aggravated assault, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, and theft by unauthorized taking of property valued in excess of $10,000.

During the brief hearing, Newton-Fortin’s attorney, Richard Charest, said his client would prefer not to remain in custody at Long Creek, but other options, such as entering a treatment center or returning home, were limited.

“Matthew does not want to be detained but he does not have any option as to where he can go,” Charest said.


Two adults, a man and a woman, sat next to Newton-Fortin during the hearing and briefly embraced him before he was led away by two police officers. The adults left the courtroom following the hearing and could not be located for comment. It was unclear whether they were his parents.

Newton-Fortin is due back in court Oct. 11, when a judge could make a determination whether he can be released while his case proceeds.

Cailley Bonti, Demarest’s attorney, requested six weeks before her client’s next appearance because she had just received the case and needed to evaluate the discovery material. He is due back in court Nov. 15.

A woman who said she was Demarest’s mother and who sat beside him in court declined to comment after the hearing.

The boys allegedly stole a large front-end loader in West Gardiner during the early morning hours of Sept. 12 and traveled toward Lewiston on Route 126, damaging mailboxes and fire hydrants and other property along the way.

Among the most costly was an $8,000 lighted sign at Fielder’s Choice ice cream parlor at 637 Gardiner Road in Sabattus. Security footage showed the loader toppling the sign about 3:30 a.m., according to a business manager.


Once in Lewiston, the loader didn’t stop for police, swerving toward cruisers several times and striking and damaging one of them, police said.

After turning the wrong way up a one-way street, the loader continued onto Route 196 and onto the southbound lanes of the Maine Turnpike with Lewiston police in pursuit.

Once in New Gloucester, the loader crossed the median and continued south in the northbound lanes, and its driver intentionally struck a car traveling north on the highway, according to police.

“Fearing possible loss of life due to the erratic and dangerous operation, a Lewiston police officer fired three shots at the tires of the loader,” Lewiston police Lt. Mark Cornelio said in a statement. “The end result was that the operator stopped the loader and the chase ended.”

No one was injured throughout the incident.

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