Man who drove into, injured Belfast city councilor sentenced to 3 years in prison

Posted April 09, 2014, at 4:31 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — The man who drove into and badly injured a bicycling Belfast city councilor last March was sentenced Wednesday in Waldo County Superior Court to three years in prison on the primary charge of aggravated driving to endanger.

Steven Lucas, 60, of Knox, who pleaded guilty last October, has spent more than a year in jail while awaiting his trial and sentencing for the hit-and-run incident that hurt Eric Sanders, according to Waldo County District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau.

Sanders was just feet away from his driveway after finishing a 20-mile bike ride when Lucas hit him, then drove away from the cyclist, whose wife and 4-year-old daughter witnessed the bloody aftermath of the incident.

Sanders suffered injuries including a mangled ear and a broken vertebrae and received 182 stitches in the hospital emergency room.

Sanders told Justice Robert Murray during the sentencing hearing how the accident had affected him and his family.

“It wasn’t an event that I would wish upon anybody else in the world,” Sanders said after the hearing. “I did almost die. I’m very lucky.’

He told the BDN that Lucas said at the hearing that he had “bumped” into him with his car, a word that did not seem to carry enough weight.

“My ear was severed and it will never be the same. It has embedded tar. When people look at that side of my face, I know what they’re looking at,” Sanders said. “I’m so glad a small child wasn’t there, because they would have died. My helmet, which saved my life, had burn marks on it from the impact.”

While he was recovering last spring, Belfast residents and others raised money to replace the bicycle that was destroyed in the hit-and-run incident.

“I was resolute not to let it whip me,” Sanders said. “I got back in the saddle as soon as I could. I was not going to let it ruin one of the pleasures of my life.”

Rushlau said that while Lucas initially had been charged with aggravated leaving the scene of an accident, aggravated operating under the influence and operating without a license, in addition to the aggravated driving to endanger charge, the state had dismissed the charge of operating under the influence. He was ultimately sentenced for the driving to endanger charge, leaving the scene of an accident and making a false report.

While investigating the incident, Belfast police initially arrested Lucas’ daughter, Derri Lucas of Knox, after Steven Lucas had accused her in connection with the hit-and-run.

Efforts Wednesday to speak with Lucas’ attorney, Nathan Bell, were unsuccessful.

In addition to spending three years in prison with no time suspended, Lucas will have his driver’s license suspended for two years, Rushlau said.

 

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