August 17, 2018
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Multiple drugs found in man charged in fatal Etna crash

Courtesy the Penobscot Sheriff's Office | BDN
Courtesy the Penobscot Sheriff's Office | BDN
Richard Lupo
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

The man charged with manslaughter in the death last year of an Etna grandmother had at least four different drugs in his system and was driving more than 80 miles an hour on the wrong side of the road at the time of the crash, according to a court affidavit.

Debra Calderwood, 73, died instantly at about 3:13 p.m. on Aug. 4 when the car driven by Richard Lupo II, 32, of Etna struck her vehicle head on along Route 2 in Etna. Lupo was driving west in the eastbound lane more than 30 miles over the speed limit, the affidavit said.

Lupo made his first court appearance Wednesday by video conference from the Penobscot County Jail. He was arrested Monday by deputies with the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office. In addition to manslaughter, a Class A crime, he was charged with driving to endanger, a Class C crime.

Lupo, who refused to speak with police after the crash, had cocaine, methadone, other opiates and the tranquilizer benzodiazepine in his blood, which was drawn after the crash at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, the affidavit said.

Data from the airbag in Lupo’s 2009 Dodge Caliber showed he was driving 81 miles per hour five seconds before it hit Calderwood’s 2009 Honda Fit, the document said. The speed limit on that section of Route 2 is 50 miles per hour.

Hypodermic needles, empty liquid methadone bottles prescribed by a Bangor clinic, a small glassine bag with the logo “stay high” on it, and other drug paraphernalia were found in Lupo’s car, police said.

A witness who stopped to render aid described Lupo as “slurring his words and swearing but talking like a five-year-old,” the affidavit said.

District Court Judge Bruce Jordan said there could be “a substantial safety risk to the public” were Lupo to be released on the $2,000 cash bail that Lupo said he could post. Jordan set bail at $50,000 cash.

He remained Wednesday night at the Penobscot County Jail unable to post bail.

Lupo was not asked Wednesday to enter pleas to the crimes because he has not yet been indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury. It next convenes on Jan. 24.

Lupo, who has recovered from his injuries, is next due in court on March 6.

If convicted, Lupo faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 on the manslaughter charge. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on the driving to endanger charge.

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