Prosecutors plan to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that barred the results of a blood test from being presented as evidence in a possible manslaughter trial.
Praneeth Manubolu, 29, a citizen of India who lives in New Jersey, has been charged in federal court with three counts of manslaughter in the deaths of Lenny Fuchs, Laura Leong and Mohammad Zeeshan, who were passengers in his 2019 Dodge Challenger when it crashed on Aug. 31, 2019, on the Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park.
The four people were part of a larger group from the New York City area who had connected on the app Meetup to spend the weekend hiking in Acadia. The early morning crash that killed Manubolu’s three passengers is the deadliest incident in Acadia’s 104-year history.
After Manubolu’s attorneys contested the admissibility of a blood-alcohol test obtained by police following the crash, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock ruled last month that police violated Manubolu’s civil rights by not first obtaining a search warrant before requiring him to provide a blood sample.
The judge has not ruled on the admissibility of the results of a second blood test on Manubolu — taken by hospital staff for medical reasons, without a request from police — which later were presented to a federal grand jury when Manubolu was indicted. The results of the second test have not been made public, but Woodcock has said there is evidence of “some amount of alcohol” in Manubolu’s blood from the second test.
The legal limit for blood-alcohol content for anyone driving a motor vehicle in Maine, and in Acadia National Park, is 0.08 percent. Manubolu’s blood-alcohol content from the test, which was administered at Mount Desert Island Hospital more than an hour after the crash occurred, was 0.095 percent, according to court documents.
Manubolu remains under house arrest in Edgewater, New Jersey, while his case is pending in federal court.
Federal prosecutors’ notice of appeal was filed Sept. 8 in U.S. District Court in Bangor, but the appeal itself on Monday was not yet available in the court filing database for the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, where the appeal will be heard.
Attempts Monday to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maine for comment about the appeal were unsuccessful. Federal prosecutors typically do not comment on pending criminal charges.