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Criminal Mischief (01/08/2020)

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Samurai sword assault

MILLINOCKET (AP) — A Maine man who police say cut another man’s arm with a samurai sword during a fight was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a dangerous weapon.

Jeremy Rideout, 35, of Millinocket, turned himself in Wednesday, police said. He was taken to the Penobscot County Jail in Bangor and made bail a few hours later.

Police were called to a high school parking lot in Millinocket on Sunday where they found the injured man. He was treated and released from the hospital, police said.

Court paperwork didn’t indicate if Rideout had a lawyer. He’s due back in court in Bangor on Feb. 13.

Fox bites Bath man’s face

BATH (AP) — An 88-year-old man was bitten on the face by a fox when he fell to the ground while trying to beat the attacking animal with his cane, Maine police said.

Police believe the fox that attacked the man in his yard in Bath on Friday evening was the same one that attacked two dogs earlier in the day, the Times Record reported.

After being bitten, the man was able to grab the fox and hold it until a passerby arrived to help him secure the animal. They then called 911 and a Bath officer killed the fox.

There has been a spate of rabies cases in Bath and Brunswick. The man was being treated for rabies exposure as a precaution.

Animal control officers brought the fox to the Health and Environmental Testing Lab in Augusta to be tested for rabies, and the test results are pending, the newspaper reported.

Traffic deaths up

AUGUSTA (AP) — Maine public safety officials are going to launch another program to promote pedestrian safety following a deadly year on roads and highways.

The state recorded 154 traffic deaths in an unofficial tally for the year that ended Tuesday, officials said. Of those, there were 16 pedestrian deaths, compared with just six the previous year, said Lauren Stewart, director of the state Bureau of Highway Safety within the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Similar to 2018, after 21 pedestrian deaths were recorded the previous year, there will be grants in 2020 to law enforcement to step up enforcement of pedestrian laws, and there will be public education campaigns to promote pedestrian safety, Stewart said.

The Maine Department of Transportation also will hold meetings with local communities where there are high incidences of pedestrian fatalities to see what can be done to help, Stewart said.

The total number of traffic deaths compares to an all-time high of 276 in 1970 and an all-time low of 131 in 2014, Stewart said.

Looking ahead, the Bureau of Highway Safety hopes to have more information about distracted drivers in the new year, the first full year in which police have reported greater detail on crash reports. That should provide greater insight into how often distracted driving contributes to crashes in the state, she said.

Fire deaths and homicides were both close to historical averages in 2019, with 22 homicides and 18 fire deaths, said spokesman Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

$800K owed in turnpike tolls

PORTLAND (AP) — The Maine Turnpike Authority is owed more than $800,000 in unpaid tolls dating back to 2013, according to a recent data analysis.

Most of the money — more than $600,000 — is owed by out-of-state vehicles, including commercial trucks, the Portland Press Herald reported Sunday. The news outlet conducted an analysis of Maine Turnpike Authority data.

The unpaid tolls makes up a tiny fraction of the authority’s $140 million annual toll revenue, but the actual amount owed could be much higher because tollbooth cameras aren’t able to read a license plate that’s dirty, obscure or missing, the turnpike authority said.

“Your guess is as good as mine in terms of trying to put a dollar value on those 200,000 plates that went through, in some cases vehicles without plates,” said the turnpike authority’s executive director, Peter Mills. “We don’t know where to begin to identify the car or vehicle or try to collect from them.”

Most violations are unintentional, caused by an improperly placed transponder or a license plate that hasn’t been updated in the transponder system, Richard Somerville with the turnpike authority said. The agency only pursues violators who have skipped payments of at least three tolls in six months.

For chronic violators — dozens or hundreds of times at the turnpike without paying — the authority may send payment notifications, tack on fines and possibly ask the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles to issue a suspension.

Between 50 and 100 registration suspension requests are sent to the bureau daily. Most violators pay what they owe, the turnpike authority said, and only 4,600 Maine registrations were suspended for toll violations in 2018.

The bureau also has the power to suspend out-of-state violators, but it can be difficult to identify the drivers and suspend their registration because other states and Canada have rules about sharing driver information.

Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts have an arrangement where the three states can request that agencies prevent re-registration of vehicles that owe tolls.

Last modified on Tuesday, 07 January 2020 06:59

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