Two people were injured after a police chase leading from Oxford to Paris caused a head-on collision on Friday evening.
At approximately 5:10 p.m., the Oxford Police Department received a call of a Ford F-150 driving erratically on Mechanic Falls road. The police department was able to locate the vehicle driving erratically and passing people haphazardly on Route 26, according to Shannon Moss, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
Oxford police attempted to pursue the vehicle, driven by 26-year-old Ethan Rioux-Poulios of Woodstock.
Observers reported that Rioux-Poulios had struck a number of vehicles while driving by the WalMart.
He then drove the vehicle off Route 26 and onto Oxford Street, and continued traveling erratically, eventually losing control of the vehicle and striking a Ford Escape, according to Moss.
Nicole Kumiega, 28, of Portland, was badly injured in the crash and was initially transported to Stephens Memorial Hospital. She was later transferred by LifeFlight to Maine Medical Center. A passenger in the vehicle was also transported to Stephens Memorial Hospital, but has since been treated and released.
When police arrived at the scene of the crash, the F-150 had caught fire, and Rioux-Poulios had left the vehicle.
While searching for Rioux-Poulios, Norway police were able to determine that he had stolen a vehicle, and Maine State Police officers were able to locate the stolen vehicle near Yeaton Swamp Road in Oxford, near the earlier crash scene, Moss said.
Officers attempted to approach the vehicle, but it sped off. Police pursued the vehicle through Oxford, into Otisfield and through Norway, where state police attempted to utilize
spike mats to disable the vehicle. The vehicle did not stop, and the pursuit continued back to Oxford.
Once in Oxford, police were able to disable the vehicle, and were able to arrest Rioux-Poulios.
He was taken to Stephens Memorial hospital for minor injuries from the crash.
Rioux-Poulios was on state-ordered probation for manslaughter after crashing into a vehicle on Route 26 in West Paris in 2019 while evading an Oxford County deputy. The driver of the vehicle the Rious-Poulios struck was killed in the 2019 crash.
He has been charged with eluding, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, driving to endanger, exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 30 mph, failure to stop for police, refusing to submit to arrest and probation violation.
The circumstances of events surrounding the crash and police pursuit are under investigation. Anyone who may have witnessed the events can call the Maine State Police at 207-657-3030.
Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Ethan Rioux-Poulios’ name