A Phippsburg man died Saturday night after he crashed his vehicle during a police pursuit.

James A. Black, 27, was pronounced dead at the scene after he crashed his 2007 GMC Envoy into a utility pole near 610 Main Road in Phippsburg. The crash happened shortly after police used a spike mat to deflate the vehicle’s tires in an attempt to bring the chase to an end.

The pursuit started shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday, when the Sagadahoc County Regional Communications Center received a 911 call. Dispatchers could only hear unclear voices and the sound of engines revving, but couldn’t get anyone on the other end of the call to respond to questions. The dispatchers asked deputies from Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office to investigate after pinpointing the location of the phone in the area of Meadowbrook and Basin roads in Phippsburg.

Deputy Zac Kindelan went to the area and spotted a vehicle parked on the Meadowbrook Road. When the deputy turned around to investigate, the vehicle took off. Kindelan attempted to stop the vehicle, but it accelerated and refused to stop after the deputy switched on his vehicle’s emergency lights and siren, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

Kindelan said he saw what appeared to be numerous baggies being thrown from the vehicle as the driver fled. During the pursuit, speeds exceeding 60 mph as the vehicle headed toward Main Road.

Deputy John Dietlin set up a spike mat, designed to puncture and deflate tires, near the intersection of Basin Road and Devil’s Highway. The spikes punctured at least one tire, but the vehicle continued, turning onto Stoneybrook Road and then northbound onto Main Road, according to police. Soon after, the vehicle left the road and struck a telephone pole near 610 Main Road.


Black was the only person in the vehicle, and first responders had to extricate him from the vehicle, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Deputies later retrieved “illegal contraband” in baggies that had been thrown from the vehicle, according to the release. Police didn’t specify what the contraband was.

Maine State Police investigators are reconstructing the accident.

In 2015, Black was arrested after striking a pedestrian — a Bath Iron Works employee — with his vehicle following an argument on Richardson Street in Bath, according to previous reports.

Police later arrested Black at his home in Bath and charged him with elevated aggravated assault, a Class A felony.

The victim, who was not identified, suffered broken bones in his skull and shoulder, but his injuries weren’t life threatening, police said at the time.

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