Witness in affidavit says man accused of hitting Biddeford bicyclists appeared to be asleep

Posted Aug. 10, 2013, at 11:29 a.m.
Last modified Aug. 11, 2013, at 7 p.m.
David P. Labonte
David P. Labonte

BIDDEFORD, Maine — A Kennebunkport man who police say was drunk when his truck struck a family riding bicycles on Aug. 2 may have been asleep at the wheel, according to witnesses cited in a Biddeford police affidavit.

Police arrested David P. Labonte on Friday, a week after the crash, and took him to York County Jail, where he is being held on $100,000 cash bail. A jail official said Saturday morning that Labonte was still in jail. He faces charges of manslaughter and aggravated operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor.

Jamerico Elliott, 51, died Wednesday from his injuries, police said. His 15-month-old son, Lavarice Elliott, who was with him on the bicycle, reportedly remains in critical condition. The female bicyclist involved in the crash, Melodie Brennan, 30, of Saco, was Jamerico Elliott’s girlfriend and is Lavarice’s mother, according to the affidavit. She was treated for injuries that weren’t considered life-threatening at Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford and released the evening of the crash.

In the affidavit, Biddeford police Officer Andrew Allaire says witnesses told him that Labonte never appeared to brake, signal or take action to avoid striking the bicyclists after crossing into oncoming traffic.

Another witness said she passed Labonte’s blue Ford F-150, which was heading north on Elm Street, just before the crash. The witness stated that the truck began to cross the centerline, nearly striking her vehicle.

As she passed Labonte’s vehicle, the witness said it “looked as though he had fallen asleep with his head down,” according to the affidavit.

The witness watched in her rearview mirror as the truck crossed two lanes of opposing traffic and struck the two bicycles that were carrying Elliott, Brennan and the child before continuing on and crashing into a parked truck.

The affidavit says that when Allaire arrived at the scene Labonte was sitting in his truck and complaining of heart pain and that witnesses were tending to the injured family.

“The dust from the airbag was overwhelming in the vehicle and I was unable to detect any odor of intoxicants,” Allaire wrote in the affidavit.

Labonte has two OUI convictions in 2006 and 2005, according to Biddeford police.

The affidavit states that that Labonte initially refused to allow his blood to be drawn for testing, but Maine District Court Judge Jeff Moskowitz approved a search warrant that allowed investigators to take a sample.

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