Newspaper Archive of
Quoddy Tides
Eastport, Maine
March 27, 2009     Quoddy Tides
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March 27, 2009

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27 March, 2009 THE QUODDY TIDES Page 13 Crime spree for theft I assault o n n rescuer by Chessie Johnson A night of partying tumed into a one- man crime spree when 27-year-old Franklin Perry of Machias decided to trek 30 miles home in a snowstorm during the early moming hours of Saturday, January 31. His girlfriend and best friend had re- fused to let him in their car when he be- came abusive and threatening. NO GOOD DEED goes unpunished. Good Samaritan Michael Tucker' s rolled up, or- ange hunter's knit hat softened an alleged blow to the head from his shovel by a stranger. ( Chessie Johnson photos) The theft and destruction of three trucks and an alleged assault with a shovel to the head of the man who pulled Perry from a burning truck resulted in a grand jury in- dictment on March 9. Perry was charged with three counts of unauthorized use of JERRY HATCH of Trescott stands by his partially repaired 1999 Dodge pickup truck that was stolen and crashed for an estimated loss of $3,500. "I have been driving since '68, and I have left the keys in my truck up 'til this point. I won't lock it, but I won't leave the keys in any more. " property, one count each of aggravated assault, criminal operating of a motor ve- hicle while under the influence of intoxi- cants, a motor vehicle burglary, theft by unauthorized taking and aggravated crimi- nal mischief. Perry admitted stealing three trucks but denied hitting Michael Tucker with a shovel. Perry does not have a driver's license. "The first vehicle that had the keys in- side was Merrill Tucker's truck that he used for trash pick-up," said Washington County Sheriff s Department Deputy Ri- chard Rolfe. Perry, whose blood alcohol level was later registered at 0.15 at the Washington County Jail, drove six miles on slippery roads before crashing King- fish Tucker's truck in the woods. At the same time, Michael Tucker, a part-time Boston resident, who enjoys get- ting back to nature in Maine, was watch- ing television in the early Saturday morning hours. His camp is far from the road and up a hill overlooking East Stream in Trescott. Nestled in bed, almost asleep, Tucker heard a noise outside his camp and then saw a dark figure on his porch. "There's a guy looking in my window. He's pressing his face up against my window. What kind of a nut looks into your win- dow?" The man left Tucker's window and headed across the yard to a neighboring property. Perry found keys in a 1989 GMC truck belonging to the Dexter Lyons fam- ily. Totally baffled by the dark, shadowy figure at his window, Tucker stepped out onto his porch as he saw the lights go on in his neighbor's truck. Deputy Rolfe relates, "He couldn't get Lyons' two-wheel drive 1989 vehicle out of the driveway, basically because of the road conditions. That vehicle was stuck and Perry was desperate. He rewed the engine and the truck caught fire." Tucker, in the mean time, had grabbed a shovel, fire extinguisher and flashlight and had run over to the burning truck. Looking inside the smoky truck cab, Tucker saw Perry reclining on the seat. Forgetting about his own safety, he pulled Perry out of the smoke-filled truck. Perry staggered outside the truck and grabbed Tucker's shovel as Tucker tried to put out the engine fire with his extinguisher. "When I am by the front of the truck, this jerk swings my own shovel at me and hits me on the side of the head." Perry could not get good traction in the slippery snow and Tucker's rolled up, orange hunter's knit hat softened the blow, a blow that caused only minor injuries to the right side of his head. Concerned about the safety of the Lyons family nearby, Tucker ran to their hous~ and banged loudly on their door. "I called the fire department," recalled Lyons, a familiar face to patrons of the meat counter of the family owned Lyons' IGA. "'They [the Lubec Volunteer Fire Department] couldn't do anything -- it was really cooking." When Lyons saw the man walking up the road, he said to bystanders, "Where is he going? It's snowing and he's leaving tracks." The third vehicle Perry encountered was another unlocked car, but with no keys inside. Jerry Hatch woke up to the sound of his diesel truck leaving his yard. "I looked out the window and sure enough, the tracks were coming out of my garage," said Hatch, knowing whoever took his truck was not going to get far. "My truck has always been really treach- erous on slippery roads." After putting out the Lyons' truck fire, Lubec firemen followed footprints in the snow leading towards Whiting. Fire Chief Bobby Hood came across Jerry Hatch in his driveway. The men followed the tire tracks swerving from snowbank to snow- bank in several inches of fresh snow. "We didn't get a half mile before we came across my truck. He plowed through seven or eight guard rails, went down the bank and almost rolled over. I could see there was a fair amount of damage," reported Hatch. After the crash, Perry walked to Whit- ing and turned the comer, headed towards Machias. Hatch followed the footprints and found Perry. "I hollered to the guy and told him pretty much the game's up. That' s when he took off into the field." The chase continued on foot, in three feet of snow. Perry was found out of breath, leaning against a garage. '"rhe first thing I asked him, 'What the beck do you think you are doing?' He threw his arms in the air. His reply was, 'I didn't steal your truck!' I hadn't mentioned anything about a truck. It was like one of those stupid crime shows on television," laughed Hatch. He then called the sheriff's department to tell them he had Perry in cust.ody. A COLONIAL BOSTON STUDY, created by students Austin Serrato, Stephanie Wright, Emma Page, Seth Doherty and Robert Wallace in Mrs. Avery's 5th grade class, is displayed in the Lubec Elementary School hall. (Chessie Johnson photo) Homeless shelter without walls planned by Normo Harrop Jonesboro Junction program of hot meals, "Without Walls" tagged Joe Perkins' indoor social activitiesand socializing that update of efforts by the Washington proved a great success for community Hancock Community Agency (WHCA) to members this winter and can be replicated. establish an alternative for area homeless Those associated with University of people rather than pursue the traditional Maine Cooperative Extension highlighted "bricks and mortar" building as a shelter, the Plant-a-Row (PAR) program that offers He was among many representatives of free vegetable seeds to gardeners to grow helping-hand community groups that met crops they donate to neighbors and local to compare resources at the Cobscook food pantries. She said this public service Community Learning Center on Wednes- campaign is sponsored by Garden Writers day, March 25. During the meeting, Association to help feed the hungry by es- chaired by Rev. Gini King, coordinator of tablishing PAR networks in communities. Washington County Fuel and Food Assis- Perkins concluded his report on helping tance Alliance (WCFFAA), each of those the homeless by citing details of the vi- present outlined aid available to the able alternative plan envisaged. It could, county's needy, he said, in many ways more directly serve Corey Grout, WCFFAA AmeriCorps varied needs at much less cost than a shel- worker serving the Maine Sea Coast Mis- ter building. He noted that, while cooper- sion in Cherryfield, reported on the des- ating with other initiatives under way in perate plight of people she has contacted the county, WHCA seeks a grant of in terms of fuel scarcity during this severe $15,000. This would enable hiaring a staffto winter. She described the Washington ascertain basic data such as the number of County Faith Fuel Co-op that has been homeless in each town, their different needs, formed with food pantries, churches and service providers available, and resources faith-based organizations to maintain posi- that can be tapped town by town. He an- tive relationships with area fuel compa- nounced that Grout has agreed to serve un- nies on behalf of her clients. Scott Shaw, der the grant as homeless prevention her colleague at the mission, told of the specialist to research these and other facts. housing repair ministry he heads to help Community teams will then be formed to low-income, elderly and disabled persons initiate a Washington County Homeless and veterans from Steuben to Jonesport Shelter Without Walls. Funds 0f$1,000 per and Beals Island with home weatheriza- town will be created. These funds will regu- tion. The program restarts this summer to larly be added to so that the program can be plan for the winter to come. implemented to serve whatever each town Rev. Gini King of the Centre Street specifies as a critical need. Congregational Church in Machias listed All present at the meeting agreed they area food pantries helping in Calais, In- will continue sharing ideas, facilities and dian Township, Jonesport, Eastport, other help so that the wide-ranging Machias, Cherryfield, Pleasant Point, WCFFAA community program can be ex- Princeton, Topsfield, Whiting and panded. Notices will be posted for future Baileyville. Pam Muschero of the meetings of the group through spring and Jonesboro Union Church reported on the sununer. HealthWays is currently accepting new patients Call for an appointment today Regional Medical Center at Lubec 733-5541 East Machias Clinic. 255-0102 Dr. Robert Abrams Christine Moulton, FNP Dr. Myo Naing D. Scott Simpson, PA Dr. Edwin Tan Diana Vandermast, FNP Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Early morning and Tuesday evening appointments available