November 08, 2019
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Driver in crash that killed 3 in Acadia indicted by feds

Courtesy of Hancock County Jail photo
Courtesy of Hancock County Jail photo
Praneeth Manubolu.

A man from India who lives in New Jersey was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in connection with the deadliest incident ever to happen in Acadia National Park.

Praneeth Manobulu, 28, is accused of causing the deaths of three passengers in his car when he crashed on Park Loop Road in the early morning hours of Aug. 31.

The three passengers who died in the crash were Lenny Fuchs, 36, Laura Leong, 30, and Zeeshan Mohammed, 27, all of New York City, according to park officials. Police have said they had met Manubolu a month prior to the crash after connecting online and realizing they all had an interest in hiking.

Manubolu told police that he and the three passengers had been out drinking in Bar Harbor before the crash, which happened just before 3 a.m., according to federal court documents.

Manubolu was indicted Wednesday on three counts of manslaughter, two counts of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and one count of unsafe operation.

The two OUI charges differ slightly in that one alleges he was impaired by alcohol or drugs and therefore could not safely operate a vehicle, while the other focuses on the more technical allegation that he was driving with a blood-alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent, which is the minimum at which someone is legally considered to be intoxicated.

The unsafe operation charge alleges that Manubolu was driving without due care and at an unreasonable and imprudent speed. Police have said they believe Manubolu “was travelling well over the posted speed limit of 25 mph” but have not specifically said how fast they think he was driving.

Last month, following a detention hearing in federal court in Bangor, a judge agreed to release Manubolu from jail and to allow him to return to his home in Edgewater, New Jersey, while he awaits his next court appearance. Manubolu has to abide by conditions that include home detention except for employment, education, medical and legal purposes. He is not allowed to possess or use any weapons, alcohol, narcotic drugs or marijuana, must wear a location monitoring device, and is subject to random alcohol testing.

Because he is not a U.S. citizen, Manubolu also had to surrender his passport.

An indictment is a finding that there is enough evidence to bring a case to trial. It is not a finding of guilt.

An arraignment on the indicted charges has not yet been scheduled.

 



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