Driver in fatal collision fails to show for appeal of 3-year license suspension

Posted Nov. 07, 2012, at 5:21 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Bar Harbor man who drove one of two trucks involved in a fatal collision on Mount Desert Island in 2009 and had his license taken away for three years did not appear Wednesday at a hearing that he had requested to appeal the suspension.

In September, the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles decided to suspend the driver’s license of Dacota Dow, 22, for his involvement in the Aug. 19, 2009, accident that killed Michael Lewis, 16, of Tremont. According to police, Dow and Lewis were driving pickup trucks in the mid-afternoon when the vehicles collided head-on on Route 102 near Kelleytown Road.

At the time, police said the two drivers were involved in a game of “chicken” in which they purposefully drove directly toward each other to see who would swerve first to avoid a collision. Police said at the time that the trucks collided in Lewis’ lane and that it appeared Dow tried to take evasive action just before the crash occurred.

Dow and a passenger in his truck, Ian Hodgdon of Tremont, were not injured in the accident. Two passengers in the truck Lewis was driving, Erin Hanley and her younger brother Patrick, who is now 13 years old, also were unhurt.

Maine State Police investigated the accident but Dow has not been criminally charged in the case. Hancock County District Attorney Carletta “Dee” Bassano was not in the office and could not be contacted on Wednesday. Bassano is not expected to be back in the office until next week, according to her staff.

Dow had requested a hearing to appeal the BMV decision to suspend his license for three years and was expected to attend that hearing Wednesday morning at the BMV office in Ellsworth. Three state troopers, a Hancock County deputy sheriff, two newspaper reporters and an attorney representing Lewis’ mother showed up for the hearing, but Dow did not.

Attempts Wednesday to contact Dow’s attorney, Steve Juskewitch of Ellsworth, were unsuccessful.

Joanne Baumrind, a hearings officer with BMV, said Wednesday that the bureau would consider rescheduling the hearing if some sort of exceptional circumstances had prevented Dow from being able to attend, but generally the agency does not reschedule s when people fail to show up. Meanwhile, the three-year license suspension, she said, will be enforced.

Charles Gilbert, an attorney representing Angela Dorval, Lewis’ mother, said Wednesday that Dow’s insurance company has settled potential claims for an undisclosed amount but that Dorval has filed a civil complaint in Hancock County Superior Court in an attempt to get additional funds from other insurance companies with clients connected with the incident.

Gilbert said there is no allegation that alcohol was a factor in the fatal collision and that there has not been any civil suit filed personally against Dow in connection with the crash.

Dorval could not be reached Wednesday afternoon for comment.

Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.

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