Man accused of stealing Dexter police cruiser indicted on slew of charges
BANGOR — The man accused of stealing a Dexter police cruiser while handcuffed in May and leading police on a high-speed chase down rural roads was indicted July 26 by the Penobscot County grand jury on nearly a dozen charges.
Tyler Tibbetts, 23, of LaGrange is charged with two counts of theft by unauthorized taking and one count each of escape, eluding an officer, driving to endanger, operating after revocation, aggravated criminal mischief, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, refusing to submit to arrest and criminal speeding.
He is expected to be arraigned on Sept. 10 at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor.
The charges stem from a May 11 incident when Dexter police went to arrest Tibbetts on a Somerset County warrant for a probation violation on a theft conviction, according to previously published reports. The officer handcuffed Tibbetts and placed him in the backseat of a cruiser.
While the officer was attending to Tibbetts’ girlfriend and her toddler, who were living with Tibbetts, he maneuvered his hands to the front of his body, squirmed through an 11-inch by 11-inch window in the cruiser’s backseat partition and sped off.
Tibbetts allegedly ditched the police cruiser in Garland. Hours later, police spotted Tibbetts behind the wheel of another car and chased him until he crashed on Route 15 after hitting spike mats, according to the Penobscot County district attorney’s office.
He was hospitalized for four days and arrested on his release May 15. The next day, a judge ordered Tibbetts held without bail on the probation violation.
In addition to the charges related to the May incident, Tibbetts also is facing unrelated charges for allegedly stealing a car in January. Last month, the grand jury indicted him on two counts of theft by unauthorized taking, driving after his license was revoked and attaching false plates, according to a previously published report.
Tibbetts allegedly confessed to a Maine State Police trooper that he stole a woman’s car in January, crashed it and then ditched it roadside in Dexter, according the district attorney’s office.
In June, Tibbetts was sentenced to 16 month in prison after being convicted of violating his probation out of Somerset County. He is incarcerated at the Maine Correctional Institute in Windham, according to the Department of Corrections’ website. His earliest scheduled release date is June 10.
If convicted of the most serious charges for theft of the vehicles in January and May, Tibbetts faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. He also could be ordered to pay restitution.