FARMINGTON — The Franklin County inmate who allegedly assaulted an officer and a woman in her home during a 30-minute escape from a sheriff’s department transport van in March has been indicted on felony and misdemeanor charges by a Franklin County grand jury.

Derek Cook, 31, of Wilton, was indicted on 11 counts, including robbery, Class A; escape, Class B; burglary, Class B; theft by unauthorized taking, Class C; eluding an officer, Class C; assault on an officer, Class C; assault, Class D; criminal mischief, Class D; driving to endanger, Class E; criminal speeding, Class E; and operating after suspension, Class E.

On March 2, Cook was arraigned on seven of the charges from two of the three police agencies involved in his recapture. Five were from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and two were from Wilton police. The Maine State Police charges of driving to endanger, criminal speeding and operating after suspension were not ready for the arraignment but were included in the slate of charges Cook was indicted on.

Cook escaped custody March 1 while being taken from Androscoggin County Jail, where he was on a probation hold, to the Franklin County Jail in Farmington.

Franklin County transport officer Phil Richards was driving the van, which also had two other inmates on board, when Cook slipped out of one of his handcuffs and escaped out the side door of the van on Route 133 in Wilton, according to a news release from Sheriff Scott Nichols at the time.

Richards, the only officer in the van, stopped the van when he noticed Cook acting suspiciously in the back. Once the van was stopped, and Cook had bailed out the side door, Richards chased after the inmate, stopping him at the tree-line.

Once Richards caught up with Cook, the two struggled, but Richards was able to get Cook back to the van. There another fight ensued, and Cook kicked Richards to the ground.

Richards deployed pepper spray, which was unsuccessful in subduing Cook, who, still in ankle-shackles and a stomach band, ran down Route 133.

A review of the incident conducted by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department found that Richards’ portable radio and cellphone were broken during the scuffle with Cook, preventing him from calling for assistance until he returned to the van and used the built-in radio.

After escaping from custody, Cook then allegedly broke into a home on Route 133, assaulted the homeowner and stole her Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Cook drove off toward U.S. Route 2 in the Jeep, where police caught up with him. Cook led state, Wilton and Farmington police on a chase through Wilton and into Chesterville.

According to his indictments, Cook reached speeds of 110 mph during the chase before losing control of the vehicle when he attempted to turn on to Zion Hill Road and crashed into a tree.

He was then taken into custody by Maine State Police.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate


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