A case of multiple stolen vehicles in Aroostook County ended with a police high speed pursuit, a flat tire, grass fires started by tire rim sparks in dry and windy weather, an elderly woman injured, a vehicle submerged in water, and two people in custody. 

Just after 8 am Sunday morning,  Aroostook County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to a report of a stolen vehicle on US Route 1 in Monticello.

Sgt. Erica Pelletier says she met with the vehicle owners, got a description of the stolen vehicle - a white 2008 Ford F 350 truck - and a description of the suspected thief.

Aroostook County Sheriffs Office

Pelletier says the owner told her a man had come to their home looking for gas. When told there was none, he asked if he could look on the back of their truck, found no gas and left the premises. The owners say that minutes later the pickup was stolen.

While Sgt. Pelletier was searching for the vehicle, State Police received a call regarding a second vehicle stolen nearby, this one just before 9 am. A Monticello resident reported a 2007 GMC Sierra taken from a home on Fletcher Road.

A few minutes later, Houlton Police Officer Matt Quint observed the Sierra being operated erratically in Houlton. A pursuit ensued onto the I-95 south to Oakfield, at which point Maine State Trooper Eric Quint took up the chase to Island Falls.

Maine State Police

Quint says the Sierra had a flat front tire but continued to operate at speeds up to 98 mph. The vehicle exited the Interstate in Island Falls and the chase continued north on US Rt. 2. Quint says the operator then began to drive north in the southbound lane. At that point, the chase was terminated due to safety concerns.

Troopers, Deputies and Officers from Houlton Police Department staged ahead of the vehicle to warn motorists. Officers from Houlton resumed pursuit in Ludlow north on Route 2 toward the Houlton town line.

Sgt. Jeff Clark says he was about to exit his cruiser to set up spike mats when the pickup swerved into the southbound lane towards him. Clark says he was able to veer off the roadway and narrowly miss being struck head-on.

Police say the Sierra then rammed into the rear of another northbound vehicle near the Route 2 and Moores Road intersection. That car was operated by 85-year-old Julia Watson of Houlton. She was transported to Houlton Regional Hospital and treated for minor injuries.

The pursuit continued into downtown Houlton. On Court Street, Trooper Soucy performed a precision immobilization technique with his cruiser to halt the pickup. The driver jumped out of the vehicle and ran a short distance on foot before being taken into custody without further incident.

He's been identified as 35-year-old Ryan Young of Fort Fairfield. The female passenger is identified as 27-year-old Ashley Theriault of Caribou.

Aroostook County Sheriffs Office

Both Young and Theriault were transported to Houlton Regional Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. They were then sent to the Aroostook County Jail.

The Sheriff’s Office recovered the Ford F350 and a third vehicle, a silver 2005 GMC truck, in a body of water off the Fletcher Road in Monticello.

Maine State Police

The 2005 GMC truck had registration plates and VIN plate removed. It was determined by Presque Isle police to have been stolen from the Star City. Both vehicles suffered cosmetic damage. The Ford was submerged to the engine compartment. A wrecker was called to remove the vehicles from the water for further processing by police.

Aroostook County Sheriffs Office

Young faces numerous charges, including theft, violation of conditions of release, driving to endanger, reckless conduct and operating after suspension. More charges are likely as Houlton Police Department, Maine State Police and Aroostook Sheriff’s Office continue their joint investigation.

Theriault has been charged with theft and violation of conditions of release.

Young is also facing charges from Caribou police for theft and violation of conditions of release from an unrelated incident.

The stolen 2007 GMC Sierra operated by Young during the pursuit sustained extensive front end damage and is a total loss.

During the pursuit, the pickup sustained a flat tire. Police say two small grass fires were apparently started by the sparks flying off the rim into the ditch. Maine Forestry Service extinguished the fires without property damage.