February 21, 2018
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Maine jury weighs fate of trucker accused of causing two deaths in 2016 crash

Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority | BDN
Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority | BDN
Randall Weddle
By Lauren Abbate, BDN Staff

The fate of the truck driver charged with causing a fatal crash in the town of Washington two years ago rests with a Knox County jury, which began deliberations Monday afternoon after hearing five days of testimony.

Prosecutors allege that Randall Weddle, formerly of Greenville, Tennessee, was speeding, intoxicated and ill while carrying a load of lumber on March 18, 2016, when he crashed into oncoming traffic on Route 17.

Christina Torres-York, 45, of Warren, and Paul Fowles, 74, of Owls Head died in the crash.

After instructions from Superior Court Justice William Stokes, jurors began deliberations shortly before 3 p.m. Monday, breaking at 5 p.m. They will resume deliberations Tuesday morning.

Weddle, 55, pleaded not guilty to all of the charges he faced, which included two counts of manslaughter, three counts of aggravated operating under the influence, two counts of driving to endangers and eight counts of violating various trucking rules.

During the five days of testimony, the jury heard from survivors of the crash, witnesses who say they saw Weddle speeding shortly before the crash, first responders, as well as local and state police officers who investigated the scene and interviewed Weddle.

According to court documents, data from the truck’s engine control module allegedly show that, at the time of the crash, Weddle was travelling at about 73 mph ― about 20 miles over the speed limit.

Two blood samples were presented as evidence during the trial. One taken shortly after the incident showed that Weddle had a blood alcohol level of 0.09, and one taken later at Central Maine Medical Center had Weddle’s blood alcohol at 0.073.

At the time of the incident, Weddle told police he was ill and was taking prescribed medications, one of which contained oxycodone. Toxicology expert Dr. Joann Samson ― the only witness called by the defense ― testified Monday that the amount of prescribed oxycodone taken by Weddle wouldn’t have added to the impact of any alcohol consumption, according to a report in the Courier-Gazette.

If found guilty of manslaughter, Weddle faces up to 30 years in prison.

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