A state prison inmate who died this week was a Palmyra man serving a sentence for arson and who authorities said had led police on a chase in 2021 along the Maine Turnpike into New Hampshire after claiming to have 21 pounds of uranium and a lithium bomb in his stolen car.

Aaron Chadbourne, 55, died Tuesday at the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston, according to a statement by the state Department of Corrections. His death occurred while he was with medical personnel.

Chadbourne began serving two concurrent sentences last year for arson, the department said. His earliest release date would have been December 2026.

He was arrested by police in January 2022 and charged with setting fires to two structures in Palmyra, including a Main Street home. Two adults and three children were inside the home when the fire began but made it out safely.

Chadbourne was arrested earlier in an unrelated case when authorities said he fled from officers in Auburn before leading them on a high-speed pursuit into New Hampshire.

Police had responded to a call for a wellness check on a vehicle parked at a gas station in February 2021. They found Chadbourne at the wheel and he told officers in slurred speech that the vehicle was stolen, police said at the time, adding that he appeared to be under the influence and suffering a mental health crisis.

At one point he claimed to be in possession of a bomb and several pounds of uranium before fleeing from the officers in the vehicle, the Sun Journal reported.

He eventually drove onto the turnpike and was pursued into New Hampshire where a spike mat was used to blow out the tires of his vehicle, authorities said at the time. He was eventually taken into custody.

He faced four charges at the time, including eluding an officer, driving to endanger and operating after suspension.

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