Police chase suspect in lawn mower theft

MIDDLEBURY / NEW HAVEN — Several police agencies combined captured a man who allegedly drove away from a Middlebury store without paying for a lawn mower last week.
Michael Francis, 56, of Colchester reportedly stole a push mower from in front of the Sears store on Exchange Street around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16.
Middlebury police allege Francis loaded the mower into a 2005 Ford Explorer and then sped off.
Vermont State Police joined the chase when they saw the Explorer traveling at a high rate of speed and attempted to stop it. Francis led police on a high-speed pursuit on Plank Road near Lime Kiln Road in New Haven. After chasing the Ford for several miles police saw that it was traveling too fast for conditions, and the vehicle left the roadway and overturned. Police report that Francis had an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for his arrest out of Chittenden County.
Middlebury Regional EMS took Francis to Porter Hospital for evaluation of non-life-threatening injuries. The Ford was considered a total loss.
Due to the outstanding warrant, Francis was lodged at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility.
Middlebury police cited Francis for retail theft. State police cited him for driving with a criminally suspended license, speeding, grossly negligent driving and attempting to elude a police officer. Other charges may be forthcoming as this investigation is ongoing.
Vergennes police and fire departments assisted in this case. 

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