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“Erratic” police chase ends with car fatally sandwiched between two semis


A police pursuit led to a series of crashes in Maine on Tuesday, including one fatal wreck involving two semi trucks. 

The series of events occurred on January 12th near Kennebunk, and began at around 1:17 p.m.

According to News Center Maine, police received six calls reporting an “erratic” pickup driver pulling a U-Haul trailer on Interstate 95 and responded to the area. Officer Lee Vanadestine attempted to pull the pickup over, but the motorist instead continued along I-95 at a high rate of speed through three lanes of traffic, and the pursuit began. 

After witnessing the motorists nearly strike several other vehicles, officer Vanadestine attempted to disable the driver by ramming their vehicle, but instead lost control of his own cruiser and crashed into a guard rail. Vanadestine sustained only minor injuries in the crash. 

Another officer then continued the pursuit of the pickup, and spike mats were deployed, but were unsuccessful, so the pickup continued on I-95 before ramming into yet another officer’s vehicle who was attempting to block the road. The motorist then exited his wrecked pickup and fled the scene, hopping a guardrail and running into the opposite lanes, but was soon apprehended by officers.  

That officer and the pick up driver sustained only minor injuries in their collision.

The pickup driver, 49-year-old David Stoddard, was taken into custody where he is being charged with elevated aggravated assault, aggravated reckless conduct, aggravated driving to endanger and eluding police.

Then at around 2:11 p.m., a second wreck occurred as a result of traffic caused by the extensive police chase. In that incident, a semi truck hauling large rolls of paper and a Lexus SUV were heading north on I-95 when they slowed for traffic. A second tractor trailer, driven by 38-year-old David Herring, failed to slow for the traffic jam and slammed into the back of the Lexus, sandwiching it between both semi trucks and killing the driver and passenger, 68-year-old Geoffrey and Elizabeth Gattis. 

Police say the Lexus was so badly mangled that the backseat was hardly visible and the bodies remained inside for more than five hours before they could be extricated, reported Sea Coast News.

Officers are still investigating the fatal crash.


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