WASHINGTON, Maine — The driver of a flatbed truck who crashed into oncoming traffic in March, killing two people, has been arrested, charged with two counts of manslaughter.
Randall Weddle, 53, with a last known address of Greenville, Tennessee, was arrested Friday and taken into custody by the Russell County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia, according to Knox County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tim Carroll. Police say the truck driver was under the influence of alcohol when the crash occurred.
Weddle is being held without bail at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Abingdon, Virginia pending an extradition hearing in Virginia. The suspect then will be brought to the Knox County Jail in Rockland to await an initial appearance in Knox County Unified Court.
Weddle is charged with two counts of Class A manslaughter and two counts of Class B aggravated operating under the influence. The chief deputy said more charges against him are likely as the investigation continues.
The charges come as a result of the investigation into the double fatal crash involving four passenger vehicles and a tractor-trailer truck loaded with lumber on Route 17 in Washington on March 18.
Killed in the crash were Christina Torres-York, 45, of Warren and Paul Fowles, 74, of Owls Head.
The chief deputy did not reveal the blood-alcohol level for Weddle but said that for drivers of commercial vehicles, the level is 0.04 to be considered under the influence compared with 0.08 for other motorists.
The maximum possible sentence for manslaughter is 30 years in prison.
Weddle was driving west on Route 17 near Fitch Road when the 1998 Freightliner loaded with lumber veered into the eastbound lane. Fowles was driving east in a 2009 Chevrolet Colorado and was the first vehicle in line struck by the truck.
Torres-York was driving a 1998 Chrysler van and was struck by the trailer and the load of lumber being hauled by the truck. The van was pushed into a nearby field and burst into flames.
A 2014 Nissan driven by Tracy Cook, 51, of Union also was struck by the trailer and went off the road to the right. Cook’s vehicle rolled over once and struck the following vehicle, a 2015 Kia driven by Tracy Morgan, 33, of Washington, before coming to rest on its wheels in the field off the road. Morgan was able to avoid being struck by the trailer after she took evasive action, but the Kia was struck by the Nissan as it rolled over, and the Kia also came to final rest in the field.
Morgan was uninjured in the crash. Cook was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.
Weddle was taken by a LifeFlight helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. A passenger in the Freightliner, Lowell Babb, 32, of Virginia, was taken to a local hospital. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening, according to police.
A combined investigation with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Maine State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement and Crash Reconstruction divisions provided enough information to the district attorney’s office to draft warrants for Weddle’s arrest, Carroll said.
Carroll said families of the victims were notified of the charges after Weddle was arrested.