No charges in fatal Stockton Springs collision in 2008

By Walter Griffin,
Posted June 06, 2009, at 3 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — The Waldo County District Attorney’s Office has decided not to charge the driver involved in a fatal crash in Stockton Springs last fall that claimed the lives of two Maine Maritime Academy students.

Deputy District Attorney Eric Walker said the Sept. 28 collision of two vehicles on U.S. Route 1 resulted in serious injuries to Andrew Bradford, 53, of Kennebunk and claimed the lives of Richard Coakley, 20, of Mount Vernon and Matthew Felton, 21, of Merrimack, N.H.

Bradford was a Maine Maritime Academy alumnus and Coakley and Felton were juniors at the school.

“We have decided that there will be no prosecution of any person at this time,” Walker said in a prepared statement. “We made this decision after a careful review of reports submitted by the Maine State Police and a study of drawings and pictures of the accident scene as well as a personal inspection of the scene.”

The collision occurred about 7:24 a.m. near the intersection of Route 1 and Muskrat Farm Road. Bradford was driving south in a 1999 Ford F-150 pickup truck and Coakley was driving north in a 1996 Acura Integra. Felton was riding as a passenger in the front seat of Coakley’s Acura.

The investigation revealed that the head-on collision occurred in the northbound lane. Minutes after the accident, Bradford told police that Coakley’s Acura had crossed into the southbound lane, causing Bradford to quickly pull into the northbound lane to avoid a collision.

Bradford told police that Coakley’s Acura then steered abruptly back into the northbound lane and struck his truck head-on.

Bradford had been returning home from MMA’s homecoming weekend. There were no other witnesses to the crash.

A state police accident reconstruction investigation found that both vehicles appeared to be in good mechanical condition and speed did not appear to be a factor in the crash.

A postmortem exam of Coakley’s blood did reveal that at the time of his death he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.123 percent. It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or above. Open containers of alcohol were also found inside Coakley’s vehicle.

Bradford voluntarily submitted to a blood test that revealed no alcohol or other intoxicants in his blood.

“With an apparent absence of other factors, it appears alcohol use and the resulting poor operation by Coakley were the main factors in this terrible crash,” Walker said.

Bradford was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor for treatment of multiple injuries and continues to make progress toward recovery. Coakley and Felton were killed instantly.

The investigation was reviewed by District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau and by Walker.

wgriffin@bangordailynews.net

338-9546

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/06/06/news/no-charges-in-fatal-stockton-springs-collision-in-2008/ printed on April 21, 2014