Man charged in death of Millinocket teacher in car crash makes first court appearance

Posted June 25, 2014, at 2:08 p.m.
Last modified June 25, 2014, at 5:10 p.m.
Scott Ramsdell
Penobscot County Sheriff's Office
Scott Ramsdell
Denise Golding
Courtesy photo
Denise Golding

BANGOR, Maine — A Cutler man charged with manslaughter in connection with the Jan. 27 death of a Millinocket teacher in a head-on collision on Route 9 in Eddington was under the influence of methadone and a muscle relaxant at the time of the crash, according to an affidavit.

Scott Ramsdell, 43, was arrested Monday when he appeared at Machias District Court on unrelated domestic violence charges stemming from a November incident in Washington County.

Ramsdell, who is being held at the Penobscot County Jail on $50,000 surety or $20,000 cash bail, made his first court appearance Wednesday before District Court Judge Gregory Campbell at the Penobscot Judicial Center by video conference.

He did not enter a plea Wednesday to the Class A felony charge because he has not yet been indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury.

The combination of the methadone and the muscle relaxant “contributed to changes in [Ramsdell’s] mental status leading to a compromised ability to operate a motor vehicle,” according to Dr. Peter Thompson, who was hired by the Penobscot County district attorney’s office to review the results of Ramsdell’s toxicology report, the affidavit said.

The accident occurred shortly before 6 a.m. Jan. 27. A blood sample was drawn from Ramsdell about three hours later, Andrew Whitehouse, a detective with the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office, said in the affidavit. Ramsdell was at the Penobscot County Metro Methadone Clinic at 5:35 a.m., less than 30 minutes before the crash.

Ramsdell, through Bangor attorney Dennis Hamrick, who represented him at Wednesday’s proceeding, said that the road was icy the morning of the accident and a sand truck was behind him. Ramsdell said that he broke both legs and injured his shoulders and hands in the accident. As a result, he has been unable to work and had to go on disability.

Hamrick said that the jail was unable to adequately meet Ramsdell’s medical needs. He said that his client used an electric wheelchair at his home but had just a cane at the jail.

Hamrick argued unsuccessfully for $1,500 cash bail.

Campbell set the bail requested by the prosecutor. Conditions include no use or possession of illegal drugs or alcohol, to comply with a curfew and to have no contact with several witnesses, including Thompson.

Marianne Lynch, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, said Ramsdell could face additional charges but declined to name them. The prosecutor expects to present the case to the Penobscot County grand jury in July.

Ramsdell is next scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 11.

Lynch said that Ramsdell was on his way to court in Machias to deal with domestic violence assault charges when the accident happened. That case was continued while he was recovering.

He is charged in Washington County with one count each of assault, Class C; domestic violence criminal threatening and violation of a protective order, both Class D crimes, according to Ethan Plaut, assistant district attorney for the county. Ramsdell’s next court appearance in Machias is scheduled for July 28.

Denise Golding, 47, of Eddington was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, according to a previously published report. Golding was westbound shortly before 6 a.m. Jan. 27, when her Hyundai sedan collided with an eastbound pickup driven by Ramsdell.

A single mother of four grown children, Golding taught English as a second language to Chinese students at Stearns Junior/Senior High School. She had bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Maine in Orono.

A graduate of Brewer High School, Golding taught previously in Old Town and Eddington schools and taught for two years in Shenzhen, China. She was a volunteer for Girl Scout and Boy Scout organizations and the Scottish Rites’ Orten Gillingham program, according to her obituary.

Golding’s parents attended Wednesday’s court hearing but declined to speak to the media.

If convicted of manslaughter, Ramsdell faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

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