A Waldoboro man has admitted to causing the deaths of a Whitinsville, Mass. couple in an accident on Route 1 in Waldoboro April 18, 2014.
Edward L. Bean, 64, admitted to two counts of motor vehicle violation resulting in death during a hearing at the Lincoln County Courthouse Monday, Nov. 9.
Justice Daniel Billings imposed the maximum penalty for the civil offense, a four-year license suspension and a $5,000 fine for each count. Bean will only have to pay $2,000 in $25 monthly installments, however, due to his financial circumstances.
Bean was driving a 2007 Dodge Caliber south on Route 1 in Waldoboro the afternoon of April 18, according to police statements at the time of the crash. Peggy A. Aldrich, 70, and Raymond P. Thompson, 68, were traveling north in a 2014 Mitsubishi.
Bean’s vehicle crossed the centerline and struck the Mitsubishi head-on, according to police. Aldrich and Thompson were pronounced dead at the scene. The couple had been in the area for a wedding.
Bean was summonsed June 24, more than a year after the accident.
District Attorney Geoff Rushlau represented the state. Damariscotta-based attorney Edward Dardis represented Bean.
Aldrich’s daughter and granddaughter addressed the court during the hearing Nov. 9, describing the pain of losing their family members and calling on Bean to apologize and explain what happened.
According to Rushlau and Dardis, however, Bean does not remember the accident. His last memory is of passing Maritime Farms in Warren, several miles from the accident scene.
Bean “has been consistent in that lack of memory, therefore, he has never offered any explanation for what happened because he simply doesn’t know,” Rushlau said.
Dardis said he had advised Bean not to respond to inquiries from Aldrich’s family. Bean did not speak during the hearing except to admit to the infractions and answer yes-or-no questions from the judge.
“It is, I think, an unusual set of circumstances that we don’t have a clear wrongdoer that one wants to reach out and punish,” Dardis said. “I don’t think that’s what was presented to the court today.”
With no evidence of intoxication or speed, “we have essentially an inexplicable accident that could have been caused by any number of events,” Dardis said.
Despite a lack of evidence of misconduct beyond Bean’s failure to maintain control of his vehicle, Rushlau said, “he caused the deaths of two human beings and, as the courts heard, these were people who had years of life ahead of them and were valuable members of their family and society as a whole, and there needs to be some consequence for Mr. Bean.”
Rushlau recommended the four-year license suspension and $2,000 fine. Dardis argued against the fine, saying a modest Social Security Disability Insurance check accounts for Bean’s only income and he lacks the ability to pay, with only $5.48 in disposable income each month.
“He clearly doesn’t have $2,000 and I don’t think, at this point, the fine is indicative of how the court may feel about the circumstances of the case,” Dardis said. “It’s simply a straight-up case of what is there for ability to pay, and there is none.”
Rushlau disagreed. “If he has to give up cable, if he has to give up some luxuries, then he should do that,” he said. Bean’s monthly budget includes a $200 credit card payment and $69.81 for cable and internet.
Rushlau also noted that Bean was able to retain Dardis.
“I don’t know if (Dardis’) fee is being paid by someone else or if Mr. Bean spent his last money on Mr. Dardis’ services or what, but at some point there had to be some assets,” Rushlau said. “It is regrettable that the claim is that there are none left to basically make amends to the state and the people of the state for the harm he caused.”
Billings ultimately accepted Rushlau’s recommendation, ordering Bean to pay $25 a month until he pays off the $2,000.
“I recognize that is a modest amount that he has to pay on a monthly basis, that it’s going to be a very long time before he pays off the total balance due, but I agree with Mr. Rushlau that he should be affected in some way by his actions … though obviously the family of the victims have been impacted in a much, much more significant way,” Billings said.