March 20, 2019
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Maine high court to hear appeal of Tennessee trucker convicted of manslaughter

Stephen Betts | BDN
Stephen Betts | BDN
Randall Weddle, 56, of Greeneville, Tennessee, appears in court, May 16, 2016.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court will hear oral arguments Thursday on an appeal from the Tennessee trucker convicted of killing two people in a 2016 crash on Route 17 in Washington.

Randall Weddle, 56, was found guilty by a Knox County jury last year on 15 counts, including two counts of manslaughter and three counts of driving under the influence. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

On March 18, 2016, Weddle was driving a tractor-trailer fully loaded with lumber when he crashed into oncoming traffic on the frequently used Route 17 in rural Knox County. Weddle struck two cars, sending one into a field where it burst into flames.

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

Weddle’s attorney, Jeremy Pratt, filed the appeal to overturn the conviction in April. According to a summary of the appeal, Pratt argues that the trial court erred in denying the suppression of a roadside blood test and in allowing the admittance of exhibits and testimony related to receipts found in Weddle’s tractor-trailer. Pratt also argues that the trial court was wrong to deny Weddle’s motion for a judgment of acquittal on a count related to a commercial driving violation.

Prior to Weddle’s trial, Pratt filed a motion to suppress the blood test taken without a warrant just after the crash, but Justice William Stokes denied the motion.

During sentencing, Stokes said that Weddle’s drinking and speeding while driving “a massive projectile object” was one of the most serious ways to commit manslaughter.

Oral arguments on the appeal will begin at 10:40 a.m. at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland. Pratt said that if the appeal is denied at by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, he will pursue an appeal at the federal level.

 



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