Police: MMA coach was intoxicated in fatal accident

Posted Dec. 28, 2010, at 3:27 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 28, 2010, at 8:55 p.m.

CASTINE — A Maine Maritime Academy football coach was intoxicated when he died after losing control of his truck in October on Route 166, according to police.

Richard E. Dykas II, 24, an assistant football coach at MMA, died in the early hours of Oct. 24 when the 1999 Ford Ranger pickup truck he was driving went off a left-hand curve on Route 166 in Penobscot and rolled, police have said.

In a statement released Tuesday morning by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Chris Thornton indicated the department’s investigation into the crash revealed that “Dykas’ blood-alcohol concentration was more than twice the legal limit to be operating a motor vehicle.”

Thornton wrote that Dykas was driving slightly faster than the posted speed limit, but that Dykas’ intoxication “is considered the primary cause of the crash.”

Thornton indicated later Tuesday in an e-mail that Dykas’ blood alcohol concentration was 0.19 percent. Maine law sets a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent as the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle.

Lt. Pat Kane of the Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday that a passenger in Dykas’ vehicle, fellow MMA assistant football coach Steven F. Nackley, 22, of New Hartford, N.Y., was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Dykas was not, Kane said.

Dykas was partially ejected from the vehicle when it rolled, but Nackley suffered only minor injuries in the accident, police have said.

MMA President William Brennan released a prepared statement Tuesday afternoon indicating that school officials were “further saddened and dismayed to learn that the misuse of alcohol” contributed to the end of Dykas’ promising young life.

“As educators and mentors for students, we expect college faculty and staff to model responsible behavior and adhere to the laws of our community and state,” Brennan wrote. “In this time of grief, we are further reminded of the critical importance of fostering lifelong habits of moderation and responsibility in our students.”

Hours before the crash, the MMA team had eked out a one-point victory in a home game against its New England Football Conference archrival, Massachusetts Maritime Academy. The 28-27 win gave the Mariners the Admiral’s Cup, which goes to the winner of the annual matchup, for the seventh consecutive year.

Dykas, from Dedham, Mass., had graduated from Mount Ida College in Newton, Mass., and coached the Mariners’ defensive secondary, according to information MMA had posted on its athletics website. He had graduated from Dedham High School in 2004 and earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Mount Ida, according to a previous report published in the Bangor Daily News.

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