Brewer woman pleads not guilty to fatal hit-and-run in June

Posted Sept. 12, 2012, at 9:51 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 12, 2012, at 1:23 p.m.
Patricia Giles
Penobscot County Jail
Patricia Giles
Patricia Giles, accused of a fatal hit-and-run on Main Street in Bangor in June, pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Wednesday morning at the Penobscot Judicial Center. Standing with Giles is attorney Zachary Brandmeir.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Patricia Giles, accused of a fatal hit-and-run on Main Street in Bangor in June, pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Wednesday morning at the Penobscot Judicial Center. Standing with Giles is attorney Zachary Brandmeir.

BANGOR, Maine — A Brewer woman pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges in connection with a fatal hit-and-run on Bangor’s Main Street in June.

Patricia Giles, 51, is charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, a Class C felony, and falsifying physical evidence, a misdemeanor.

Giles was indicted June 27 by the Penobscot County grand jury.

She remains free on $10,000 unsecured bail. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 8.

Giles faces up to five years in prison if convicted of the felony charge.

Her attorney, Zachary Brandmeir of Bangor, said after Wednesday’s arraignment that he did not expect the case to be resolved quickly. Brandmeir said at an impromptu press conference outside the courthouse that he has not yet received discovery from the district attorney’s office.

“Unless and until we have an opportunity to see and review all that evidence, we’re not going to consider any other plea” than not guilty, he told reporters.

He said that Giles was doing as well as could be expected under the circumstances.

“Certainly everybody feels bad” about the incident], he said. “This has been a horrible tragedy. No one wants to hear about it. It’s a sad event for the community. I think [Giles] is quite shaken up by it but she’s doing the best she can given what’s alleged here.”

The Penobscot County district attorney’s office claims Giles struck Joshua R. Constantine, 37, of Bangor, a longtime employee of a downtown business, as he crossed Main Street near the entrance to Shaw’s supermarket around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, June 2.

Constantine, an employee of Herbal Tea & Tobacco, was killed instantly.

A woman who identified herself to a Bangor Daily News photographer as the victim’s sister did not address the court Wednesday and left the courthouse without speaking to the media.

Giles’ silver 2000 Pontiac Bonneville didn’t stop and didn’t brake, according to Deputy District Attorney Michael Roberts, who is prosecuting the case.

Giles surrendered to police on June 13 as part of an agreement with the district attorney’s office, according to a previously published report.

Roberts, who did not handle Giles’ first appearance in court Wednesday, said in June that Giles was not indicted for manslaughter because there was no proof she was criminally negligent when she struck Constantine.

Maine law defines manslaughter as “recklessly, or with criminal negligence, caus[ing] the death of another human being.”

Giles was headed home from being in the Main Street area of Bangor during a waterfront concert but did not purchase a ticket for the show, the prosecutor said.

“We have no evidence that she was in a bar drinking before the incident,” Roberts said.

A few weeks after the accident, the Bangor Public Works Department installed a crosswalk and a pedestrian signal at Patten Street, the entrance to Shaw’s.

Roberts said in June that even if Constantine had been in the crosswalk when he was struck, the driver would not have been criminally negligent unless it could be proven that person was impaired in some way, such as under the influence of intoxicants.

The day after the accident, police got a tip that Giles was involved and went to her residence, where they found the Bonneville in the garage.

Police found Giles had tried to remove the car’s windshield, and that is why she is charged with falsifying evidence, according to Roberts.

Initially, Giles told investigators she thought she had hit a dog, Roberts said in June.

“Ultimately, she acknowledged to the Bangor Police Department that she hit someone and then panicked,” Roberts said.

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