A Portland man is expected to remain behind bars until his court appearance in August after he reportedly led a game warden and Maine State Police on a chase last week through Waterville.

Justin Cardelli, 41, eventually fled into the woods, where he was tracked down by a state police dog that bit him on the leg, according to police.

Cardelli was arrested last Wednesday by Maine Game Warden Sgt. Terry Hughes and charged with eluding an officer and reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, because he caused a vehicle crash in Waterville during the chase, according to Mark Latti, spokesman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife.

Hughes was on Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville at about 10:30 a.m. on June 23 when he saw a blue Chevrolet pickup truck being operated somewhat erratically, according to Latti. Hughes followed the truck down Silver Street and then Elm Street, where it cut off other vehicles, according to reports.

Hughes then attempted to stop the pickup truck, which was occupied by two people, but the vehicle kept going, Latti said.

Hughes pursued the truck for more than 3 miles, according to Latti.


“(Hughes) terminated the chase due to public safety concerns,” Latti said. “He lost contact and the vehicle kept moving but Fairfield police saw it go on Interstate 95, going south.

“As it was going south, Somerset County dispatch received numerous 911 calls about that same vehicle operating dangerously. State police set up various checkpoints to stop the truck, but the vehicle pulled over on the interstate, between Webb Road and Trafton Road, and stopped.”

The man who was driving the pickup truck, later identified as Cardelli, and a woman passenger got out and flagged down a tractor-trailer, which stopped, and the pair jumped in, Latti said.

The tractor-trailer attempted to drive away, but a state trooper pulled up behind it and the man and woman jumped out of the tractor-trailer and fled into the woods, according to Latti.

As state police pursued the pair into the woods, the woman walked out on her own and onto Trafton Road, where she was taken into custody, Latti said.

A state trooper with a trained dog tracked the man into the woods, according to Latti. The dog located the suspect and bit him on the leg. State police then arrested the man.


“He was taken to MaineGeneral in Augusta,” Latti said, “where he was treated and (then) brought to the Kennebec County jail.”

When arrested, Cardelli had three warrants for his arrest that included no bail, and he was on probation, according to Latti.

Police reportedly found narcotics in the pickup truck, and there is possibility further charges will be filed, either by state police or through the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office, according to Latti.

Cardelli, who is being held without bail, is scheduled to appear Aug. 2 at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.

As of Tuesday, the woman with Cardelli had not been charged, according to Latti.

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