MONMOUTH, Maine — A mother and daughter accused of using their cars to destroy several gravestones worth more than $32,000 are facing felony charges.
Melissa Grant, 42, and her daughter Savannah Lowe, 20, both of West Gardiner, were charged on Friday by the Kennebec County district attorney’s office with aggravated criminal mischief, a Class C felony carrying a prison term of up to five years and a maximum fine of $5,000 if convicted.
Grant also is charged with operating after suspension and operating beyond license restriction, both Class E misdemeanors. Both Grant and Lowe were arrested on Sept. 27, the night of the offense.
Grant allegedly was intoxicated when she was driving in the Monmouth Ridge Cemetery, according to Monmouth police Chief Kevin Mulherin.
Lowe attempted to keep her mother from driving by trying to stop Grant’s car with her own vehicle. What resulted was a “demolition derby,” said Monmouth Cemetery Association President Hugh LeMaster.
Mulherin said both Grant and Lowe ran over and damaged several headstones at an estimated cost of $32,500. Damage to the lawn is estimated to be $1,500.
“The whole town is concerned. It feels like their town has been violated,” LeMaster said on Tuesday.
LeMaster said he’s hoping insurance from the two women will pay for the damages.
Some of the damage occurred in an old section of the cemetery where several stones date back before the Civil War. One gravestone had about $21,000 worth of damage, said LeMaster.
Other stones damaged were newer and families have voiced their feelings on what happened, he said.
The headstones “are there to mark that person’s life. They were loved and had feelings for individuals,” said LeMaster. “For somebody to throw all caring to the wind and mow those over, it feels horrible.”