PARIS, Maine — Kristina Lowe was found guilty Thursday afternoon of two counts of manslaughter in the high-speed crash that killed Oxford Hills teens Rebecca Mason, 16, and Logan Dam, 19.
The jury also found Lowe guilty of leaving the scene of an accident, but found Lowe not guilty of two counts of aggravated operating under the influence.
Lowe was charged with five felony counts in connection with a fatal accident on Jan. 7, 2012, in West Paris: two counts of vehicular manslaughter, two counts of aggravated criminal operating under the influence and one count of leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
She faces up to 30 years on each of the manslaughter charges and decades more on the combination of other charges.
Throughout the trial, Lowe sat ram-rod straight and nearly motionless between defense attorneys James Howaniec and Chelsea Peters. Early in the trial, a court officer replaced her wooden chair with a padded office chair in deference to her lingering back pain as a result of the wreck.
Assistant District Attorney Richard Beauchesne called 20 witnesses to make the state’s case that Lowe had arranged for alcohol to be available at a party she attended at 12 Yeaton Lane in West Paris on Jan. 6, that when she arrived at the party she appeared to be drunk and that she continued drinking right up to a half-hour before the fatal accident.
His case included seven eyewitness accounts of party-goers who testified that Lowe laughed off a crash that occurred several hours before the fatal accident when she was doing “donuts” in the driveway of the party location and rammed into a tree stump in the front lawn.
Several of those party-goers also testified that Lowe wouldn’t let anyone else drive the car she had borrowed from Dakota Larson, and that they saw her get in the driver’s seat when she left the party with Jacob Skaff and Dam just before midnight. And, many of them also testified that Lowe told them after the crash that she had been texting and driving when she lost control of her car.
Beauchesne also presented an audiotaped interview Lowe had with State Police Trooper Lauren Edstrom in which she admitted to drinking two shots of Jager, but initially denied driving the car at the time of the crash. Lowe could be heard telling Edstrom several times that Skaff was driving, but wavered on that point when Edstrom pressed her. By the end of the 34-minute audiotape, Lowe could be heard telling Edstrom that she and Skaff may have switched drivers when they stopped for gas and cigarettes at the Big Apple in West Paris minutes before the accident.
During that interview, Lowe expressed concern that police would interview her friends at the party and she didn’t want them to get into trouble, and Lowe also asked the trooper whether police had been able to recover her purse, her license and her MaineCare card from the wreck.
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