News and Events
Motor Vehicle Pursuit and Arrest
ROCHESTER, New Hampshire – On Saturday, August 5, 2023, at approximately 12:09 a.m., Troopers assigned to the New Hampshire State Police Troop A Barracks received information regarding a vehicle believed to occupied by suspects wanted in connection to a theft that occurred earlier in the evening in the Town of Sanford, Maine. Troopers were provided a description of the vehicle which was identified as 26-foot U-Haul box truck bearing Arizona registration plates. Troopers received additional information that the U-Haul had fled from the North Berwick, Maine Police Department minutes earlier when officers attempted to stop the U-Haul in connection with the ongoing theft investigation in the Town of Sanford. Prior to the U-Haul fleeing from the North Berwick Police Department, officers conducted a traffic stop on the U-Haul during which the original operator of U-Haul complied with police officers and exited the U-Haul. After the original operator exited, the passenger entered the driver’s seat and fled the scene, nearly striking the original operator, constituting potential felony charges in this jurisdiction and prompting the initiation of a pursuit. The North Berwick, Maine Police Department, assisted by the Wells, Maine Police Department, and the Berwick Police Department, pursued the U-Haul for a period of time before terminating the pursuit after the U-Haul entered into the City of Rochester, New Hampshire.
At approximately 12:23 a.m., Trooper Nathan Sleight located the U-Haul on Lowell Street in the City of Rochester. Trooper Sleight attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the U-Haul, but the U-Haul fled from Trooper Sleight, prompting a pursuit. Trooper Sleight continued to pursue the U-Haul as the U-Haul traveled along several streets in the City of Rochester and eventually onto Route 16 North via exit 13. After the U-Haul entered Route 16 North, Trooper Sleight pursued the U-Haul through the City of Rochester and into the Town of Milton, New Hampshire during which time the operator drove erratically, traveled at excessive speeds, and periodically extinguished the exterior lights.
At the request of Troopers, Officer William Bachert, of the Milton Police Department, deployed tire deflation devices on Route 16 North in the vicinity of exit 17, successfully deflating two tires on the U-Haul. At this point, Trooper Sleight was assisted by other Troopers as the U-Haul exited Route 16 North via exit 17. Troopers continued to pursue the U-Haul as it traveled onto White Mountain Highway (Route 125) in the Town of Milton and eventually entered the Town of Lebanon, Maine. Based upon the circumstances, Troopers continued to pursue the U-Haul along several rural roadways in the Town of Lebanon, in close proximity to the New Hampshire border.
As the U-Haul traveled back toward the New Hampshire border, Trooper Cameron Vetter coordinated with Deputies from the York County, Maine Sheriff’s Office to deploy additional tire deflation devices at the intersection of Carl Broggi Highway (Route 202) and River Road in the Town of Lebanon, successfully deflating an additional tire on the U-Haul. Immediately thereafter, the U-Haul reentered the City of Rochester, eventually entering the property of a private business located at 31 Front Street in the City of Rochester. After the U-Haul traveled along a dirt roadway behind the business and into a field adjacent to the business, the U-Haul became stuck in a muddy area of the field. The operator subsequently fled on foot into a nearby wooded area and ignored Trooper Sleight’s commands to stop. At this point Trooper Sleight deployed his K9 partner “Kaiser” at which time K9 “Kaiser” successfully apprehended the operator following a brief search of the wooded area. With the assistance of additional responding Troopers, Trooper Sleight placed the operator into custody without further incident. Further investigation confirmed that the operator had been the lone occupant in the U-Haul during the pursuit.
After being taken into custody, the operator was identified as Michael D. BENNETT, age 30, of Sanbornville, New Hampshire. Further investigation revealed that BENNETT was the subject an outstanding no-bail warrant issued by Strafford County Superior Court for absconding from drug court supervision. In addition, BENNETT was determined to be on probation as a result of a prior conviction for drug possession. Also, it was determined that BENNETT’s operator’s license was revoked due to having been previously certified as a habitual offender. As a result of this incident, BENNETT was charged with a number of crimes to include Reckless Conduct – Class B Felony, Operating After Certification as a Habitual Offender – Class B Felony, Operating After Revocation – Class A Misdemeanor, Disobeying An Officer – Class A Misdemeanor, Driving Without Giving Proof – Class A Misdemeanor, and Resisting Arrest – Class A Misdemeanor (x2). After being medically evaluated and cleared at a local hospital, BENNETT refused the services of a bail commissioner and was held in custody at the Strafford County House of Corrections pending an appearance in the Strafford County Superior Court on August 7, 2023.
During the course of this incident, Troopers from the New Hampshire State Police Troop A Barracks were assisted by Troopers from the New Hampshire State Police Troop E Barracks, the Milton Police Department, the Somersworth Police Department, the Barrington Police Department, the North Berwick, Maine Police Department, the Sanford, Maine Police Department, the Berwick, Maine Police Department, the York County, Maine Sheriff’s Office, Frisbie Memorial Hospital EMS, the Rochester Fire Department, and Rochester Truck.
This incident remains under investigation by Trooper Nathan Sleight of the New Hampshire State Police – Troop A Barracks in collaboration with the Sanford, Maine Police Department and the North Berwick, Maine Police Department. Pending further investigation, additional charges are likely to be filed against BENNETT in both the State of New Hampshire and the State of Maine. Anyone with information pertaining to this investigation is asked to contact Trooper Sleight at Nathan.J.Sleight@dos.nh.gov.