Dixfield man dies at Somerset County Jail

Posted March 21, 2011, at 7:04 p.m.

MADISON, Maine — A Dixfield man serving a 90-day sentence for his involvement in a 2009 fatal crash in Wilton died Saturday night at Somerset County Jail.

According to medical reports, Richard Greco, 61, suffered a brain aneurysm, Somerset County Sheriff Barry Delong said Monday.

He said his staff started CPR until emergency personnel could arrive, within 11 minutes, but they could not revive him.

“It was a natural death, the first death here this year,” Delong said.

Greco had been fine, serving his time within the general population of the facility that houses 170 to 190 inmates, he added.

Greco was sentenced last month in Franklin County Superior Court to two years with all but 90 days suspended as part of a plea agreement. Greco, who was believed to be affected by prescription drugs at the time of the crash, was driving a pickup truck on Routes 2 and 4 near Dutch Treat on the afternoon of March 27, 2009. His vehicle struck head-on a Chevrolet driven by Shawn Hiscock, 31, of Jay.

Hiscock’s front-seat passenger, Avis Pettengill, 73, of Jay, was pronounced dead at the scene. Hiscock’s wife, Heather, and two sons, Jordan and Isaac, were riding in the back seat.

Hiscock suffered multiple leg fractures, requiring subsequent surgeries. His children recovered physically but had to overcome a fear of riding in a vehicle, family members told the court last month.

A grand jury indicted Greco on three charges, manslaughter and two counts of criminal driving under the influence. After considering the burden of proof for a trial, Assistant District Attorney James Andrews sought a fourth felony charge of reckless conduct on which the agreement was made. The three other charges were dismissed in the agreement.

Blood samples from Greco after the crash showed no alcohol but he did test positive for a combination of prescription drugs including methadone, oxycodone and others. Greco, who joined the Army at age 17, was injured during his service and was following the directions of his doctors at Togus Veterans Hospital. He wasn’t abusing drugs, his attorney Walter Hanstein said during the sentencing.

It appears Greco fell asleep and crossed the line but there’s no explanation for the way it happened, Hanstein added.

Greco told the court he never misused his medication and that he didn’t want to put himself or Pettengill’s family through a trial.

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