New Brunswick

Maine trooper suspended after chase into N.B.

A Maine state trooper was suspended without pay for two days after chasing a truck at speeds of almost 145 km/h and crossing into New Brunswick last fall.

A Maine state trooper was suspended without pay for two days after chasing a truck at speeds of almost 145 km/h and crossing into New Brunswick last fall.

The incident started in Lubec, Maine, at 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 24 but has only recently come to light.

Steve McCausland, a spokesperson for Maine State Police, said the state trooper attempted to pull over an alleged drunk driver in a pickup truck.

The policeman put on the flashing emergency lights, but the driver didn't stop and instead began travelling at speeds of 130 to 145 km/h and driving directly for the bridge between Maine and Campobello Island.

"The pursuit went on to Campobello Island for a couple of miles before the trooper realized she was in Canada, and then she turned around and came back to the border crossing," McCausland said.

"It became evident very shortly after she crossed the border that she was in Canada, so she turned around and came back. I suspect that she was only one or two miles onto the island ... by the time that happened, which probably accounted for only two or three minutes."

The state trooper is normally based in Elsworth, Maine, roughly 110 kilometres away from Lubec and the international bridge that she crossed during the chase.

Kyle Newman, the New Brunswick man being chased, has pleaded guilty in a St. Stephen, N.B., court to failing to stop at a point of entry.

The court was told that the state trooper was new to that corner of Maine and that is why she didn't realize when she went across the bridge that she was crossing an international boundary.

McCausland said a lesson has been learned about respecting the Canadian border.

"We took it seriously. We took disciplinary action," he said, referring to the suspension.

Driver 'panicked'

Joel Hansen, the defence lawyer representing Newman, said state troopers do not have authority to cross the border even when a crime has been committed.

"That may qualify to cross a state line, let's say from Maine into New Hampshire, but it does not qualify in terms of coming into another country," Newman said.

The lawyer said his client told him he panicked and that's why he refused to pull over for the police.

"He advised me that the reason why he panicked was, 10 or 12 years ago a close family relative of his found himself in a similar situation, had been pursued across the border and assaulted in some fashion. I have no knowledge of that, but that is what he advised me," Newman said.