NEWPORT CITY – A Maine resident who led police on a 22.5-mile chase Easter Sunday will undergo a psychiatric examination to determine her competency and sanity. Until then, Judge Robert Bent ordered Kimberly Saunders, 46, of Portland, ME, held on $15,000 bail.
Saunders faces a felony charge of operating a motor vehicle in an attempt to elude law enforcement officers and misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana, reckless endangerment, driving under the influence, and operating a motor vehicle in a reckless or grossly negligence manner.
Janet Monette, a screener for Northeast Kingdom Human Services, told Judge Bent during Monday’s arraignment that Saunders believes she is in Maine, not Vermont, and is on a mission to help God.
State’s Attorney Alan Franklin initially asked Bent to hold Saunders on $25,000 bail. He explained that Saunders has no family or friends in the area. Franklin also said that Saunders didn’t stop until she ran out of road.
It all started when Saunders drove through the Derby Line Route 5 Port of Entry without stopping. Vermont State Police Troopers and Border Patrol Agents pursued Saunders on Interstate-91 and roads in Derby. During the chase, Saunders appeared to be smiling and laughing. Several times throughout the pursuit, Saunders appeared to clap, wave her hands and gave the middle finger through the vehicle’s sunroof.
Saunders finally stopped when she ran out of road on Eagle Point. Jensen stopped his cruiser and, with his service weapon pointed, ordered Saunders to get on the ground. Saunders laughed and reached into the back of her vehicle and pulled out what appeared to be a mini bottle of alcohol. She drank what was inside and threw the bottle on the ground. Loud dance music was coming from the vehicle.
Jensen and Trooper Amy Borsari, who arrived on the scene, proceeded towards the operator with their weapons drawn. Saunders refused to get on the ground and continued to laugh.
Jensen determined that Saunders didn’t have a weapon, then he took her by the arm and brought her to the ground. The officers put Saunders in handcuffs and sat her on the ground near Jensen’s cruiser.
Jensen said that he smelled a strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from the vehicle.
Saunders told police she was high and drunk and said the pursuit was exciting.
During a search of the vehicle, police found marijuana, a pipe with residue and another bottle of tequila.
Saunders refused give correct answers as to her current address or date of birth.