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Vermont Fugitive Leads Police on Car Chase Through Newbury, Vt.

Chelsea — A Vermont man who pulled a handgun and threatened to shoot officers after leading them on a high-speed chase in Newbury, Vt. last week had been on the lam for six months, authorities said.

Michael J. Hoehl, 28, of Topsham, Vt., was arrested last week after engaging in his third high-speed chase with authorities in recent months. Hoehl, who was wanted on parole violations and was driving a stolen car during the chase on Dec. 4, pleaded not guilty to a slew of felony charges in Orange Superior Court last week, and is being held in Northeast Correctional Complex in St. Johnsbury.

To evade detection, police said, Hoehl repainted the car four times — every time he heard that police were looking for a certain color vehicle, he changed its appearance.

Inside the car, which police said was stolen in Orford, police said they found a portable GPS, a radar detector, several fuel containers, foreign currency, sports cards and an antique chalice. They also found keys to a Yamaha vehicle, a model of a 1950s vehicle, and numerous license plates and state inspection stickers. State police are trying to find the owners of these items, and are asking people with information to call Trooper Eric Jollymore at the Bradford barracks at (802)-222-4680.

Hoehl, formerly of Canaan, served time in prison on a charge of stolen property, and was placed on parole until March 2014, according to court documents. In June, he ran afoul of his parole regulations when authorities allegedly found 28 marijuana plants in his Canaan home, along with two rifles, according to court documents. Authorities have apparently been looking for him ever since.

Hoehl’s attorney, Dan Sedon, declined to comment yesterday.

An affidavit written by Trooper Joshua Lewis gives the following account.

Around 1 a.m. last Tuesday, Lewis saw a red Mazda Protege that matched the description of a car stolen out of an Orford parking lot in October sitting in front of a home on Leighton Hill Road in Newbury, Vt. The vehicle appeared to have gray paint underneath its red coat, and the VIN was covered. Lewis pulled back to observe, and called in backup.

Nearly seven hours later, Hoehl walked out of the home and toward the car. Troopers announced their presence and ordered Hoehl to the ground — he ran to the car, jumped inside, ran over deflating spikes that had been placed under the tires, and took off.

He swerved off the road and around a cruiser that bad been positioned to block him on Leighton Hill Road, and, while swerving from one side of the road to another, made it to Scotch Hollow Road, where two of the tires came flying off the rims.

Hoehl passed within 10 feet of a pedestrian walking a dog before he lost control and ended up in a field off Peach Brook Road. The chase lasted five minutes.

Hoehl ran into the woods, drew a handgun, and pointed it into the ground when troopers caught up with him. Hoehl walked toward a stream.

“You guys are on my time now I’m going to make a couple of phone calls then we will see what happens,” he said, according to the affidavit.

He picked up his cell phone, and, while waving his gun in the air, called several people and told them that he was in woods with several police officers pointing guns at him.

“We will see, I may walk out of here with you guys I may not,” Hoehl told police, and then made comments about committing suicide. He also threatened to kill the officers.

Just before 10 a.m., Hoehl threw the gun behind him and surrendered to police.

Hoehl told police that, when they saw him walking to his car, he was out to get his “fix.” Court records show that Judge Timothy Tomasi ordered that Hoehl needs treatment for methadone withdrawal.

Mark Davis can be reached at mcdavis@vnews.com or 603-727-3304.