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Criminal Mischief - (10/21/15)

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Low-speed chase down I-95 the wrong way

WATERVILLE/SIDNEY Maine State Police received several reports of an erratic operator traveling at about 25 mph in the passing lane on I-95 southbound in Waterville on Oct. 16. The vehicle was a black Toyota pickup truck.

Troopers responded and located the vehicle near mile 122 in Sidney, near the Sidney exit. State Police shut down the southbound lanes for the safety of the motoring public. The vehicle came to a stop in the passing lane when Trooper John Lacoste approached and asked the driver to exit the vehicle. The operator, Kyle Long, 29, of Waterville, appeared to be impaired or having possible mental issues. Despite Trooper Lacoste and Sgt. Peter Michaud attempting to remove him from the vehicle, Long continued to resist and refused to submit to arrest. Also in the truck was an aggressive dog that prevented troopers from turning off the ignition; Long then drove off.

That began a low-speed chase in the southbound lanes as troopers attempted to stop the pickup. At mile 118, Major Brian Scott used his cruiser in a PIT maneuver (Precision Immobilization Technique) that disabled the fleeing vehicle, which came to rest in the median.

Long was arrested and charged with failure to stop for a law enforcement officer, passing a road block (Class C), refusing to submit to arrest or detention and violations of conditions of release. He was brought to the Kennebec County Jail, where he is being held without bail, pending a medical evaluation. An Augusta Animal Control officer responded to the scene to take the uninjured animal.

A Maine game warden and Department of Transportation also assisted at the scene.

Getting bogged down

SACO State Police say a Plymouth man was arrested after he got into a chase with a state trooper in Saco and then ran off into a swamp.

On Oct. 15, Kevin Switzer, 28, was charged with eluding a police officer and aggravated operating after revocation of his driver's license. Switzer was the driver of a car pulled over by Trooper Christopher Rogers on the Saco Spur off the Maine Turnpike. Rogers had stopped Switzer for suspicion of having a revoked driver's license.

As Rogers was getting out of his cruiser after stopping Switzer on the spur, the car took off, starting a chase that continued onto Route 1 in Saco and ended in the back of the Hannaford Supermarket building on Route 1, where Switzer's car was located.

Rogers said he spotted Switzer in a boggy area behind the building and took him into custody after both were in waist-high mud and water. Switzer was taken to the Saco Police Department, where he made bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 20. Switzer's driving record shows his license was revoked for failing to pay fines and for an accumulation of points on his license.

Cold case task force to be decided in December

State Police say their staffing of the new unsolved homicide unit will be completed in December. Initially the staffing assignments were to be completed this week. The unsolved homicide unit will consist of two new detectives, a chemist at the State Police crime lab and an assistant attorney general.

The Chief of the State Police, Colonel Robert Williams, said the delay will allow for the appointment of a new lieutenant, who will oversee homicide investigations in central Maine, as well as the unsolved homicide unit. Williams said, 'Throughout the summer a group comprised of State Police and the Attorney General's Office have worked on how the unit will operate and the criteria for utilizing the new personnel for the best results. As they examined cold case units around the country we realized that the success of the new group requires a solid foundation for its management and organization. To ensure that end, state police have reorganized the major crimes unit to create a new lieutenant's opening and part of the duties of that new position will be to oversee the unsolved homicide unit.'

Williams said the new lieutenant will be selected in early November, and the two detectives who will staff the unsolved homicide unit will be selected afterwards.

Williams cautioned that once the unit is operational, results will not be immediate. 'Part of the work that has taken place over the summer was to create a process for a principled approach to selecting cases. Each open homicide case will be reviewed and priority given to the cases with the greatest likelihood of being solved,' Williams said.

The chief also said that the work has continued on many open homicides cases even as the debate began in the spring on the unit's formation and its approval by the Maine legislature. Two of those cases have been very public the searches in Canton and Millinocket in recent weeks for evidence in the 1986 disappearance of Kim Moreau in Jay, and the 1980 homicide of Joyce McLain in Millinocket.

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