Driver in fatal accident turns himself in to Belfast police, charged with manslaughter

Posted Sept. 18, 2013, at 5:11 p.m.
Alvaro Soares
Alvaro Soares

BELFAST, Maine — The driver in a fatal high-speed crash in Thorndike on July 4 turned himself in to the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday and was charged with a slew of felony crimes that include manslaughter.

Alvaro Soares, 27, of Unity was released later that day on $50,000 unsecured bail. A warrant for his arrest was recently issued, according to the sheriff’s office.

Soares had been driving his sister and her boyfriend, Oscar Tizon Brito, on Route 220 the evening of the July 4 holiday after attending a barbecue to celebrate a family member’s birthday. Chief Deputy Jeffrey Trafton of the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that an accident reconstruction showed that Soares was driving the vehicle nearly three times the speed limit of 30 miles per hour. The car struck two side-by-side utility poles, breaking both of them, and apparently killing Brito on impact.

Rescue personnel who arrived at the scene found a car wrecked beyond recognition and sparks from a transformer falling onto the survivors. They pulled Kelley Soares, 22, of Cranston, R.I., away from the vehicle and began a two-hour effort to cut Alvaro Soares out of it. Brito, originally of the country of Peru, was pronounced dead at the scene.

“I’m still amazed [Alvaro Soares] survived,” Trafton said. “I saw how he was twisted in the wreckage. The fire departments did an amazing job. The car was crashed against the pole, and as they were cutting him out, the weight of the vehicle was coming down on him. Mr. Soares was twisted into the wreckage.”

Police have been waiting until they pulled all the elements of the investigation together before issuing the warrant for Soares’ arrest. Those included getting the accident reconstruction done and approved by the Maine State Police, getting a vehicle autopsy completed and getting the results back from Soares’ blood alcohol content test. When he was tested several hours after the accident, his blood alcohol content was determined to be .07 percent, Trafton said.

Soares and his sister, who both were taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor by a LifeFlight of Maine helicopter for treatment of their life-threatening injuries after the crash, have spent the last few months recuperating, Trafton said. He thinks they both suffered broken bones and other traumatic injuries.

Police had been in contact with Soares’ attorney, and when the warrant for his arrest was issued, Soares came back to Maine from Providence, R.I., to be charged and processed at the Waldo County Jail. In addition to manslaughter, he also was charged with operating under the influence involving death, reckless conduct, aggravated driving to endanger and criminal speeding.

After he was released on bail, Trafton believes that Soares was going back to his mother’s home in Rhode Island to continue his recuperation. His first court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 31 at Waldo County Superior Court.

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