ROCKLAND, Maine ― The attorney representing the driver of a tractor-trailer who caused a fatal crash in Washington in 2016 is requesting a new trial based on statements that an assistant attorney general made to the Bangor Daily News regarding warrants for roadside blood tests.
In a ruling last month, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court struck down a state law requiring blood draws be conducted on drivers involved in fatal crashes.
Maine’s highest court found that while the warrantless blood test conducted on Randall Weddle, 57, was unconstitutional, “unique circumstances” existed in his case and it upheld his conviction following a fatal crash in Knox County.
Since the law was considered constitutional at the time of the draw, suppressing the blood test from presentation at trial would “serve no other purpose than to withhold reliable information from the truth-seeking process and punish an officer for doing its job,” according to the decision.
But in a motion filed Monday, Weddle’s attorney Jeremey Pratt claims comments made by Assistant Attorney General Don Macomber to the Bangor Daily News an article last month contradicted the exception that the state and the high court said existed in Weddle’s case.
Macomber told the BDN that in 2013, after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling on roadside blood tests, “he created a warrant form that the officers could fill out at the scene of a fatal crash to show there was probable cause for a warrant.”
“If this quotation is correct, it directly contradicts the argument that the state made to the Law Court regarding the good faith exception and would eliminate the good faith exception that the law court relied upon,” Pratt wrote in his motion for a new trial.
Pratt is requesting a hearing to explore the “newly discovered” evidence and said he would call to the stand, at a minimum, Macomber, former Knox County District Attorney Jonathan Liberman and former Knox County Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody.
Pratt is also requesting time to conduct an investigation prior to any evidentiary hearing to obtain a copy of the warrant form that Macomber told the BDN he created, as well as information about who the form was disseminated to.
On March 18, 2016, Weddle was driving a tractor-trailer fully loaded with lumber when he crashed into oncoming traffic on Route 17 in rural Knox County near the town of Washington. 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.