No charges will be filed against driver who struck and killed paving worker in Orono

By Alex Barber, BDN Staff
Posted Aug. 26, 2013, at 5:59 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — No charges will be filed against the driver of a vehicle that struck and killed a man working on a pavement project in May, authorities said Monday.

Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said that no criminal charges will be brought against Keri-Jon Wilson, 25, of Orono, whose Jeep Grand Cherokee fatally struck Richard Thibodeau, 56, of Millinocket on May 7.

“I reviewed the case and I don’t think there’s significant evidence to show criminal negligence,” Almy said on Monday. “Criminal negligence involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable and prudent person would exercise in a similar circumstance. The word I emphasize is ‘gross.’”

Almy made his decision to not seek criminal charges on Aug. 8, he said.

“To prove criminal negligence here is not possible,” Almy said.

Thibodeau was working with Harvey’s Paving and Sealcoating of Bangor as part of a crew that was wrapping up a paving job at Faith Baptist Church at 161 Forest Ave. when he was struck by Wilson’s vehicle at 7:02 p.m.

He was taken by an Orono Fire Department ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where he was pronounced dead at 8 p.m.

Late-day sun glare was a factor in the crash, Josh Ewing, acting chief of the Orono Police Department, said Monday.

“Even our officers arriving on scene from the same direction she was coming from witnessed it themselves,” said Ewing, adding that speed was not a factor.

Ewing said his department made no recommendation to the district attorney’s office on whether to file charges.

“From the police perspective, there was no criminal responsibility,” he said.

Brenda Nelson of Millinocket, who described Thibodeau as her soulmate and partner for 30 years, said Monday she and her family are upset by the lack of criminal charges.

“The past three months have been hell. Everything was just taken away,” she said.

Nelson, 52, said she plans to file a civil lawsuit against Wilson.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/08/26/news/bangor/no-charges-will-be-filed-against-driver-who-struck-and-killed-paving-worker-in-orono/ printed on April 24, 2014