The Hancock County district attorney will not file charges against a man who was driving a vehicle that struck and killed a pedestrian in front of The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor last winter.

Matthew Foster, the top prosecutor in the county, said Friday that several factors contributed to his decision not to prosecute Russell Clark in the death of McKenna Unobskey. Clark, 63, lived in Bar Harbor while Unobskey, 27, was a lab employee who lived in Trenton.

Clark was estimated to be driving 39 mph in a 35 mph zone, which a state traffic engineer has said should have a 40 mph limit, Foster said. The collision occurred in the dark in the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 10, and Clark has said he was suffering from a medical event that caused him to clutch his chest and possibly step on the gas pedal instead of the brake.

Flashing lights at the crosswalk, which are supposed to indicate the presence of someone crossing the road, were not flashing at the time, Foster added. Clark was familiar with the lights, having driven past the lab on his way to and from work for 36 years, and so was not alerted that Unobskey was crossing the road.

“There is a video of the crash and it confirms that the lights were not flashing,” Foster said.

It is possible the crash could have been avoided under different circumstances, he said, but to get a conviction a prosecutor would have to prove that Clark was reckless or negligent in his actions.

“My conclusion is that this incident, while horrible and tragic, does not generate criminal liability,” Foster said.

Foster said that his decision not to prosecute Clark does not preclude Unobskey’s family from filing a civil suit against Clark.

“I hope that they understand my decision, though I am sure it is not what they wished to hear,” he said.

Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....