Police chase across two counties ends with deadly crash in Gray

Apr. 29—A Plymouth man is dead following a police chase Friday night that spanned two counties and several towns, ending on Route 26 in Gray, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said.

Nicholas Leibowitz, 30, crashed about 8:30 p.m. and suffered fatal injuries, Chief Deputy Naldo Gagnon said Saturday.

Police had responded to reports of a 2023 Chevrolet Trailblazer driving recklessly and at high speeds in Oxford.

The chase began near the Oxford Casino, Gagnon said, with the vehicle going more than 90 miles per hour. The Trailblazer then crashed into a vehicle in Poland. Officers' attempts to stop the vehicle failed, and Leibowitz continued speeding toward Cumberland County on Route 26, or Shaker Road, into New Gloucester.

In Gray, at the request from Oxford police, Cumberland deputies attempted to deploy spikes near the Maine State Police barracks, but police couldn't lay them down in time. The Trailblazer then nearly crashed head-on into a Cumberland deputy, police said. The vehicle also crashed into a different motorist on Shaker Road. There were no injuries in that crash, Gagnon said.

The Trailblazer later struck a telephone pole and continued into trees before rolling several times. It came to rest in the middle of Route 26.

Leibowitz was the single occupant, police said. He was pronounced dead by emergency medical workers. The Gray Emergency and Medical Services and Fire Department responded to the crash.

Gagnon said Cumberland sheriff's deputies were assisting authorities from the Androscoggin Sheriff's Office and Oxford Police Department.

The Androscoggin County Sheriff's Department said Saturday it was not involved in the chase. "We didn't have any units chasing (Leibowitz)," Sgt. Brian Smith said. "Androscoggin didn't chase him."

The Oxford Police Department did not respond to an interview request Saturday.

State law requires that all state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies must adopt written policies regarding high-speed chases and whether police should avoid a pursuit because of public-safety concerns.

Gagnon declined to share the Sheriff's Office policy when asked about it Saturday. He also said that Cumberland County deputies did not chase the Trailblazer.

Part of Shaker Road was closed briefly while officers assessed the scene, and the road was reopened at 2 a.m. Saturday.