ROCKLAND, Maine — A 30-year-old Rockland man was sentenced Thursday, March 8, to nine months in jail for his role in a car crash two years ago in Appleton that claimed the life of a young Rockland mother of three.
“Of all the substantial authority I have as a judge, there is nothing I can say that can repair the holes in your heart,” Justice Jeffrey Hjelm said to the family of Morgan Wadsworth, who was 24 when she died in the May 28, 2010, crash on the Sennebec Road in Appleton.
Hjelm accepted a plea agreement reached between the district attorney’s office and the attorney for Brian H. Boody. Boody had been charged with manslaughter but at Thursday’s hearing, the charge was dropped and replaced with a lesser offense of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon.
Boody was sentenced to five years in jail with all but nine months suspended, placed on probation for two years, and had his motor vehicle license suspended for three years.
Assistant District Attorney Chris Fernald said if the case had gone to trial, the prosecution would have presented evidence from a state police accident reconstructionist that Boody was driving 70 mph in a 45 mph zone when he lost control of his vehicle, it went airborne and struck a tree. The vehicle ended up partially submerged in a bog.
Wadsworth, who was a passenger in the vehicle, died at the scene.
Fernald said it was a difficult decision to agree to the reduced charge. He explained that often in motor vehicle manslaughter cases, there are other factors such as alcohol involved but such was not the case in this crash. He said the head of the crash division for the state police agreed with his recommendation.
Defense attorney Justin Andrus of Topsham said the defense would have offered testimony from its own expert disputing the speed of the vehicle at the time of the crash. He said that for a manslaughter conviction the state would have had to prove that Boody’s operation of the vehicle was a gross deviation from what a reasonable person would have done.
A letter from Wadsworth’s father Robert Wadsworth was read to the court by the victim advocate. In the letter, the father talked about how he and his daughter were close, spoke every day and said “I love you” to each other every day. He also said his daughter was a great mother to three young children. He said the children will visit their mother’s grave and hug the gravestone.
Boody broke into tears throughout the hearing. He stood and faced Wadsworth’s family when he spoke.
“I know words can’t really express how my heart goes out to you. If I could trade places with her or take it back, I would. God bless you,” Boody said.
Boody also was sentenced to seven days in jail after he was arrested the night before the court hearing for possession of suboxone and having ingested Xanax. He had been a passenger in a car that police had stopped. His bail conditions prevented him from using illegal drugs.
The sentencing comes four months after statements that Boody made to a state trooper after the crash were thrown out by Justice Hjelm because Boody had just gotten out of surgery and was under the influence of morphine. Boody suffered multiple broken bones in the crash.