This photo posted on the Dexter Police Department’s Facebook page shows the 2014 Ford Explorer police cruiser that Tyler Tibbetts is believed to have stolen.

A man escaped custody and stole a police cruiser Friday morning in Dexter and later led officers on a high-speed chase in another vehicle before crashing and suffering serious injuries, Maine State Police said.

Tyler Tibbetts Photo courtesy Maine State Polilce

Tyler Tibbetts, 22, stole a fully marked Dexter police cruiser at 11:29 a.m. Friday following his arrest on outstanding warrants.

Although he had been handcuffed with his hands behind his back and placed into the back seat of a Dexter police cruiser, he managed to contort himself to move the cuffs to the front of his body, get out of the cruiser and get behind the wheel of a second cruiser and drive away, state police spokesman Stephen McCausland said. It was not clear Friday where the Dexter officers were at the time. No police officers were injured.

Tibbetts was still in handcuffs when he stole the cruiser, a White Ford Explorer, and was seen driving on Garland Road in Dexter, police said.

The cruiser was found abandoned off the Parkman Road in Garland about 1:15 p.m., but Tibbetts remained at large.

Shortly after 2 p.m., police spotted Tibbetts in a different vehicle, but he refused to stop. Officers pursued him in a high-speed chase through Dover-Foxcroft. Tibbetts crashed into some woods off Bangor Road, or Route 15, in Corinth, McCausland said.

Tibbetts suffered serious injuries in the crash and was pinned inside the wreckage. A LifeFlight helicopter was dispatched to take Tibbetts to Eastern Maine Medical Center, McCausland said. Calls inquiring about Tibbetts’ condition at the Bangor hospital were not returned Friday night.

It was unknown whether Tibbetts acquired a firearm when he stole the cruiser, although during the more than two hours he was on the loose, police advised the public that Tibbetts should be considered armed and dangerous. It also was not clear how he acquired the second vehicle and whether he was still handcuffed when he crashed.

The original charges were not known Friday night, but Tibbetts has a record for assault, theft and other crimes.

According to the State Bureau of Identification, Tibbetts has a criminal record that began in 2013 when he was a juvenile and was found responsible for a burglary and theft by a judge in Dover-Foxcroft District Court. He served 18 days but later violated his probation and was sent to jail for one year and a month.

Tibbetts later was charged by the Milo police with felony aggravated assault, was found guilty and served six months of an 18-month sentence.

In 2014 Tibbetts also paid restitution for a misdemeanor theft, and served 30 days in jail for resisting arrest.

His record also includes convictions for criminal mischief, another theft charge, violating the conditions of his release, aggravated forgery and other less serious charges.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

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