The Waterville man accused of leading police on a drug-fueled, multicounty chase in a stolen Winthrop Fuel Co. truck has been indicted on nine charges.

Paul N. Hatch III, 37, is facing burglary, eluding an officer, criminal operating under the influence, driving to endanger and several other charges stemming from the incident police say began when Hatch allegedly stole an oil delivery truck containing 1,100 gallons of heating oil and kerosene from a garage at the Winthrop business on Peck Farm Road in September.

A Kennebec County grand jury indicted him on Oct. 18.

The pursuit, which started in Gray, went into Auburn and continued through Winthrop, ended when Hatch struck another vehicle and rolled the fuel truck over onto its side on Route 133 in Winthrop, officials say.

Hatch, once arrested following a brief foot chase after crashing the truck, told police he had used methamphetamine 30 minutes prior, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by Winthrop police Detective Savannah Brennan. Later, Hatch said he had not slept in eight days and had used the stimulant consistently during that period. He also told authorities there were several packages of meth in the truck.

Winthrop Police Department received a report at 8:25 a.m. on Sept. 19 that employees of Winthrop Fuel Co. Inc. had arrived at the company’s garage to find the bay door open and truck gone. Police ordered law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for the truck.


Later that morning, Kenneth Tabor, an investigator with the Office of the State Fire Marshal, spotted the vehicle in Gray. He followed the truck through multiple towns into Auburn, observing it  swerve into oncoming traffic and drive through red lights without stopping at intersections, including some that were blocked by other officers.

Tabor lost sight of the truck in Auburn, so he, after retrieving a small vodka bottle and a bottle of fuel stabilizer he said he had seen the driver of the truck throw out the window, headed toward Winthrop to deliver that apparent evidence to Brennan, the detective. On the way, he spotted the truck again, on U.S. Route 202 in Monmouth.

Monmouth police Lt. Dana Wessling responded and the truck drove east on U.S. Route 202. Wessling activated his cruiser’s lights and siren and used a loudspeaker to instruct Hatch to stop the vehicle.

Brennan wrote, in the affidavit, that she was traveling west on U.S. Route 202 when she and another officer pulled over to the side of the road in their cruisers. She said the fuel truck drove toward the other officer’s vehicle, then swerved and headed directly for her, forcing her to “manipulate my cruiser into the embankment to avoid being hit head on.”

Hatch then drove the truck, at speeds of up to 75 mph, further east on U.S. Route 202 in Winthrop, swerving over the centerline toward oncoming traffic multiple times.

A Winthrop officer attempted to deploy spike strips to deflate its tires, but Hatch avoided them and continued onto Main Street in Winthrop, then onto Highland Avenue and past Winthrop Elementary School, eventually turning back onto Route 202.


Brennan said Hatch continued to drive recklessly and collided with a pickup truck hauling a trailer, then swerved onto Route 133 — the wrong way on an on-ramp — and rolled the truck over.

Hatch exited the truck and sprinted away, taunting police while running away by saying “they were never going to catch him,” the affidavit states. “Police were able to catch him,” it continued.

While being taken to the hospital, and then jail, Hatch twice managed to slip his hands — which had been cuffed behind his back — to the front of his body and allegedly damaged Winthrop and  Augusta police cruisers by pulling apart a section of the vehicles’ dividers and kicking at windows.

Hatch was indicted on charges of: burglary, theft by unauthorized taking, eluding an officer, criminal operating under the influence, driving to endanger, unlawful possession of scheduled drugs, refusing to submit to arrest and two counts of aggravated criminal mischief.

Hatch told police he didn’t know why he took the truck. While at the hospital police found a small orange ball on the floor, which Hatch later said was one of his bags of meth. He told police there were two or three other packages of meth inside the truck.

Police located a backpack in the truck which had three small bags containing what police believed to be methamphetamine.

Hatch is being held at Kennebec County jail.

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