Grand jury indicts Winterport woman involved in police pursuit

By Ben Holbrook | May 12, 2017

Belfast — A Waldo County grand jury May 10 indicted a Winterport woman on several charges related to a March police pursuit that ended after she crashed into a light pole on Front Street.

Rebecca J. Hills, 32, was indicted on charges of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, assault on an officer, aggravated criminal mischief, failure to stop for an officer, driving to endanger, criminal operating under the influence, and refusing to submit to arrest.

The charges against Hills were filed following a series of events that began March 28 at 8:56 a.m. when Belfast Police Officer Michael Boucher received a complaint about a white, older model Volvo sedan driving backward on Perkins Road. While en route, Boucher was contacted by Waldo County Communications Center dispatchers who informed the officer the vehicle was now driving on Lower Congress Street.

As Boucher was driving to the last known location of the vehicle, he passed the Volvo heading east on Church Street, at which time he turned around and turned on his emergency lights. The vehicle, driven by Hills, stopped in front of the Police Department facing east in the westbound lane with its four-way flashers on. Boucher exited his vehicle and started to approach the Volvo.

According to his affidavit, Boucher could hear Hills yelling before she “burned out” and traveled through the intersection of Church and Main streets without stopping at the stop sign. Boucher returned to his cruiser and began pursuing the Volvo while informing dispatchers Hills would not stop.

Boucher pursued Hills along Church Street and through the Market Street intersection where Hills again failed to stop at a stop sign. The pursuit continued east along Church Street before Hills eventually turned onto High Street where she accelerated rapidly, repeatedly crossing the center line and driving on the wrong side of the road.

Eventually, Hills began to slow down, Boucher writes in his affidavit, and it appeared her vehicle was pulling over. However, she abruptly turned onto Field Street and the officer could see Hills yelling and waving her arms.

Boucher pursued Hills along Field Street before she turned onto River Avenue where she nearly struck a pedestrian who was walking toward the road from his vehicle, according to court documents. Hills stopped on the side of the road and appeared to be yelling at the pedestrian.

Boucher then attempted to box-in Hills' Volvo, but she was able to navigate around the cruiser and turned onto Pierce Street. Her vehicle crossed the center line on Pierce Street, went off the road and traveled down a small embankment before returning to the roadway.

By that time, another cruiser joined the pursuit as Hills led the officers along Pierce Street and then onto Front Street, past the shipyard. Hills was driving on the wrong side of the road and accelerated rapidly to 50 or 60 mph from 35 mph, Boucher states in his affidavit, before she lost control of the Volvo and “spun out” in front of Front Street Pub and Harborwalk Restaurant.

Boucher pulled his cruiser in front of Hills' Volvo while Officer Roy Smith, who had joined the pursuit, stopped behind her. Hills put her car into reverse, struck Smith's cruiser, and then drove forward into the front of Boucher's cruiser. Then she drove over a curb, hitting and knocking down a light pole.

According to court documents, Boucher exited his cruiser with his gun drawn and ordered Hills to get out of her vehicle. However, Hills continued to attempt to drive away from the scene, despite being stuck on the base of the light pole.

While Boucher moved to the driver's side of the Volvo, Smith, who also had his gun drawn, went to the passenger side of the vehicle and opened the door to remove Hills. She resisted and while Boucher was attempting to handcuff her, he heard Smith yell "She bit me." Boucher then put his left foot on Hills' back and was able to handcuff her before she was placed in Smith's cruiser, court documents state.

Boucher said he could smell burned marijuana on her clothing and emanating from her vehicle.

Hills, who complained of pain, was taken to Waldo County General Hospital before she was transferred to Waldo County Correctional Center. At the jail, she was administered an Intoxilyzer test but that test did not detect any alcohol.

However, she was also examined by Maine State Police Trooper Seth Allen — a certified drug recognition expert — who determined she was under the influence of marijuana and stimulants.

She is scheduled to appear in Belfast District Court May 23.

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