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Criminal Mischief (06/05/2019)

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High-speed chase leads to charges

FRYEBURG (AP) — Police say a New Hampshire driver faces numerous charges after leading police on a chase that neared speeds of 100 mph through Maine’s Oxford County.

The Oxford County Sheriff’s Department said deputies observed the car traveling at 30 mph over the speed limit early Friday in Lovell. They backed off when the car neared speeds of 100 mph.

Deputies say the car eventually spun out of control and crashed into a tree in Fryeburg.

They say the driver, 20-year-old Hunter Coburn, of Chatham, New Hampshire, was arrested on charges including driving to endanger, eluding a police officer, operating after suspension and operating under the influence of alcohol.

Oxford County Jail officials said Coburn was released on bail Friday morning. It wasn’t known if he had an attorney.

Light requirements for buggies

AUGUSTA (AP) — Operators of horse-drawn buggies in Maine will be required to outfit their carriages with reflectors and lights due to a new law in the state.

The proposal is designed to improve safety on the roads in Amish communities in the state, and Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed it into law on Thursday. The new law states that it applies to non-motorized, animal-drawn carriages.

One of the sponsors of the proposal, Democratic Rep. David McCrea of Fort Fairfield, says the new law is the result of numerous meetings with members of the Aroostook County Amish community. He says the law will make it safer to operate buggies, wagons and carriages at night.

The vehicles will also be required to display an oil lantern or electric light on the side.

Fraud case could result in jail time

PORTLAND (AP) — A 61-year-old woman could serve two days in jail for allegedly convincing an elderly man to drain his savings account to finance a “boutique” senior housing complex.

The Bangor Daily News reports that former critical care nurse Amy McLellan of Brunswick pleaded guilty Friday to felony misuse of entrusted property. But the court could end up dismissing that charge if she complies with court-ordered conditions and has no new criminal conduct.

McLellan didn’t respond Sunday to a request for comment.

Police say she bilked an elderly couple out of $274,000 to finance a senior housing complex at the former Brunswick Hospital.

Police say McLellan met the couple while the husband, who suffered from Parkinson’s, was her patient. His wife said her husband was “in love” with McLellan.

New motorcycle results in accidental death

ANSON (AP) — Police say a Maine man who’d just purchased a motorcycle suffered fatal injuries in a crash while riding it home.

The Somerset County Sheriff Department said 66-year-old Barry Morriss, of Madison, Maine, was pronounced dead Friday at Redington-Fairview General Hospital.

Investigators say Morriss had just purchased the motorcycle and was riding it back to his residence when he crashed in Anson. He was being followed by his step-son in a vehicle.

Officials say Morriss was flung into a ditch after losing control of the motorcycle. Investigators believe speed and inexperience are to blame, but the crash remains under investigation.

Bear hunt changes have to wait

PORTLAND (AP) — Maine’s bear hunters were hoping to bag big wins in the legislature this year, but their proposals for an overhaul of the state’s hunting rules will have to wait.

State legislators considered a change offered by a pro-hunting group this year that would have given state biologists the ability to adjust the length of the season and the number of animals a hunter can kill.

Hunters were hopeful that would mean more opportunities to hunt bears, but a legislative committee decided in late May to hold the proposal over until the next legislative session in January. Lawmakers will have another crack at the law then, said David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, which authored the proposal.

The bear population of Maine has grown from about 23,000 in 2004 to more than 35,000 today, and it’s the largest population on the East Coast. “We have a growing bear population that we are not controlling,” Trahan said.

The bears are the source of hundreds of complaint calls every year when they paw through garbage, raid birdfeeders and steal pet food. But the state is also home to animal lovers who passionately oppose attempts to hunt more of the bruins.

Maine’s traditional bear hunt takes place in the fall. Another proposal this year promised to take on the growth of the population by creating a second, spring bear hunt, but it failed to win approval from the same legislative committee and is unlikely to move forward soon.

Animal welfare groups pushed back at both pro-hunting proposals during public hearings this year. The groups have long criticized the state for allowing the use of bear hunting over bait, which is typically sugary human food.

Karen Coker, who heads a wildlife advocacy group called WildWatch Maine, said she believes the use of bait is inhumane. She said pro-wildlife groups will be ready to continue fighting expanded hunting when laws come back up for consideration in the next session.

“This is not the time to give the commissioner the power to extend the baiting season,” she said during testimony. “It is the time for accountability.”

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