The driver was a 33-year-old mother-of-two from Dayton with a bad traffic history and a few criminal charges on her record. The front seat passenger was a 45-year-old carpenter and father-of-four. The back seat passenger was a 20-year-old who liked hanging out at local skate parks and doing tricks on his BMX bike.
It’s not clear what they were all out doing together at 11 p.m. the night they all died in a crash on Gould Road in Dayton, about a half hour southwest of Portland. Family members would later say they had never heard of the others involved. Investigators did learn they were all Facebook friends, but it’s still not apparent what their connection was or why they were out together.
What they do know is this: Not one of them had a valid driver’s license. All were suspended. What’s more, someone in the car was drinking. Troopers who responded to the scene could smell it. However, it’s unclear at this point whether the driver was impaired, and investigators won’t know for sure until the toxicology reports come back. That’s when they’ll be able to say whether alcohol played a role in the crash, too. Investigators have also surmised the driver was speeding, as evidenced by the fact she was not able to safely negotiate the turn, which she should have been able to do had she been traveling the speed limit, which is 45 mph.
All of this information is going to be key to any wrongful death claims that may arise as a result of this crash. For example, if the driver was intoxicated, that could be grounds to assert that her impaired driving caused the crash that resulted in the deaths of the other two. The claim could be filed against her estate. It’s unlikely that there is an insurance policy that covered her as a driver because, again, she had no valid driver’s license.
In fact, she had been listed as a habitual offender by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles following three convictions for operating under suspension within a five-year window. Her license was first suspended in 2000 when, at age 18, she was arrested for DUI over 0.15 blood-alcohol content. Then she was convicted of operating without a license in 2004. In 2011, she was convicted for failure to have auto insurance and violating seat belt laws. The following year, she was convicted for operating with a suspension, failure to appear in court and failure to pay child support. The year after that, she was convicted of two counts of operating with a suspended license. In 2014, she was convicted of operating a vehicle while her license was suspended or revoked.
She also had several prior convictions for excessive speeding. Her license wasn’t eligible for reinstatement until 2017. She also had prior convictions for trafficking drugs, resisting arrest, assault, theft and forgery.
In light of all this information, it’s safe to assume that if someone loaned her a motor vehicle for use that night, they may well be the target of a wrongful death lawsuit by the estates of the other two men for negligent entrustment of a motor vehicle.
Of course, our Portland auto accident lawyers would advise not overlooking the possibility of a product defect. That could be a deficient tire or some other issue with the vehicle itself that may have contributed to the crash.
In cases such as this, where the losses are so profound and the facts are unclear, it’s imperative for survivors of decedents to seek immediate legal counsel.
If you are the victim of a Bangor car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Driver in Dayton triple fatal was repeat offender, records show, Aug. 18, 2015, By David Hench, Portland Press Herald
More Blog Entries:
Report: Maine Residents Consuming More Alcohol, Sept. 8, 2015, Portland Wrongful Death Attorney Blog