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A Lincoln man charged with manslaughter in connection with an off-road crash more than two years ago that killed a 19-year-old woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to lesser charges at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor.
Parker Gardner, 22, was drunk when driving an off-road vehicle at about 7:55 p.m. May 27, 2017, in Lowell when it overturned. Abigail K. Fiske, 19, of Millinocket died at the scene on the WARP Road.
Gardner pleaded guilty to aggravated operating under the influence of intoxicants, reckless operation of an ATV and violating his bail conditions.
In a plea agreement with the Penobscot County district attorney’s office, the manslaughter charge will be dismissed when Gardner is sentenced.
The agreement does not include a joint sentencing recommendation that the prosecution and the defense have agreed to.
Gardner was scheduled to be tried before a jury in Bangor beginning Aug. 26.
His sentencing was scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 6.
Fiske, a student at Husson University, was the daughter of Thomas Fiske of Lincoln and Rachel Cyr of Millinocket.
Gardner operated the vehicle recklessly by driving it into a spin, causing it to flip onto its roof, said R. Christopher Almy, an assistant district attorney for Penobscot County. Fiske was in the backseat of a 2017 Maverick X3 UTV, often called a side-by-side, when Parker tried to make a “power turn” before the vehicle flipped.
Less than two hours after the crash, Gardner’s blood alcohol level was 0.04 percent, Almy said Tuesday. Based on Gardner’s statements, the lab estimated it was 0.08 percent at the time of the crash, the legal limit for a 21-year-old to operate a vehicle, but Gardner was 19 at the time of the crash, the prosecutor said.
Superior Court Justice William Anderson ordered that Gardner continue to be held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail. His $5,000 cash bail was revoked last year after he was caught buying alcohol in Lincoln. Gardner had been free on bail since July 2018 when he was indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury.
He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on the aggravated drunken driving charge. Gardner faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 in prison on the charge of reckless operation of an ATV. On the bail violation charge, he faces up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
If Gardner had been tried and convicted of manslaughter, he would have faced up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.