CARMEL, Maine — Police say a Corinna man was behind the wheel of a white GMC extended-cab pickup truck that was involved in a hit-and-run incident on Christmas Eve on Interstate 95 in Carmel, Trooper Michael Johnston said Wednesday.
Christopher Doherty, 38, was charged with reckless conduct, driving to endanger, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and failure to report an accident for his involvement in the late evening collision that destroyed one vehicle and caused extensive damage to his truck.
A man from Lisbon Falls was driving south on I-95 in a Jeep Wrangler around 11:35 p.m. Dec. 24 when he noticed a truck behind him quickly gaining on his vehicle with its left turn signal on.
At approximately mile marker 171, the truck “plowed right into him,” and “the force of that pushed him right off the road,” Johnston said of the Jeep.
After the collision, Doherty stopped long enough to survey the scene, then got back into his heavily damaged truck and drove away, the trooper said. The Jeep was totaled in the rear-end crash, but the driver was not injured, he said.
Witnesses to the collision said the driver of the pickup was speeding and swerving on the highway just before crashing into the Jeep.
Johnson said in December that he believed “it is probably safe to say some impairment was involved,” with the driver of the truck, but added proving that after the fact is very difficult.
With little evidence, Maine State Police asked for the public’s help in finding the pickup truck involved in the Christmas Eve collision, and “it was actually the news release that prompted people to call in, which ultimately led us to the vehicle,” Johnston said in a Jan. 1 e-mail.
The damaged white GMC truck was found the day before, he said in that e-mail. No charges were brought then, because the case was still under investigation, the trooper said.
Trooper Marc Poulin reconstructed the accident and Gary Chapman, a civilian inspector with the Maine State Police, conducted a vehicle autopsy and examined both vehicles, he said. After those investigations were completed, Doherty, who has hired an attorney, was charged.
He is scheduled to be in Newport District Court to face the four charges against him on March 16. If convicted of the reckless conduct charge, the most serious of the four charges, Doherty could face a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.