AUGUSTA — Royce Jewell raised his voice and pointed his finger, looking across the table at the man whose actions in an automobile crash two decades ago caused the death of Jewell’s wife and 10-year-old son.

Bryan Carrier, 39, of Fairfield, looked away from him.

It was Monday morning during a Bureau of Motor Vehicles hearing for Carrier, whose license was revoked for life following a 1996 drunken driving accident in which three people died and two others were seriously injured. Carrier was again seeking to get back the right to drive, which was suspended for life when he was sentenced.

“When he took this deal, it was for life on the license and that was it,” said Jewell, 65, of Canaan, whose wife, Arlyce Jewell, who was 42, and their son, Alex, died in the crash. Jewell also was injured in the crash.

“I didn’t agree with that at the time, and I never got to face that man. Look at me, boy,” Jewell said during the hearing, pointing across the hearing table at Carrier. “I never got to talk the last time – 20 years ago. I want this (expletive) over with.”

Hearing examiner Benjamin Tucker, who is expected to issue a decision later in writing, quickly called for a break in testimony.

Jewell’s frustrations were among a string of emotionally-charged moments during Monday’s hearing, which was Carrier’s third attempt at an appeal since the Nov. 22, 1996, crash that resulted in the deaths of Arlyce and Alex Jewell and Elbert Knowles, who was 15.

Carrier, who was 19 years old at the time, drove a pickup truck at high speed through a stop sign on East Ridge Road in Skowhegan and slammed into a van that was heading east on U.S. Route 2. He pleaded guilty in 1997 in Somerset County Superior Court to three counts of manslaughter and three counts of aggravated operating under the influence. Carrier’s blood-alcohol level after the crash was 0.11. The legal limit is 0.08.

On the manslaughter charge, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but two years suspended; six years of probation; and 2,000 hours of community service. On the OUI charge, he was sentenced to two years in prison, to run at the same time as the manslaughter sentence, and ordered to pay $6,000 in fines.

In addition, his driver’s license was suspended for life. He was released on March 30, 1999, from the Charleston Correctional Facility.

Carrier’s attorney, Walt McKee, said there is a provision under state law that allows a person whose license is permanently revoked to petition the state to get his or her license back 10 years after the date the person is no longer incarcerated. He said friends and family members of the victims may have been unaware of the law, which was approved by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

McKee said part of the request to the Secretary of State’s office for license reinstatement is a provision that Carrier’s car or truck be equipped with a restrictive ignition interlock device, which would prevent the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected by the device after the driver breaths into the machine. He said safety will not be an issue if Carrier’s license is reinstated.

EMOTIONAL TESTIMONY

Monday’s emotional two-hour hearing in Augusta featured testimony under oath from Carrier, several of his family members and from three family members and friends of the victims of the crash.

“I am truly sorry for what I’ve done,” Carrier said, adding that he cannot take away the pain the families continue to feel. “I hope that someday you can forgive me.”

Carrier, who still works for the family business, Carrier Chipping, said he is not the same person he was 20 years ago. He said he is married with two children and relies on his mother to take him places and often rides a bicycle to work. He said he has undergone counseling.

“I think about it every day,” he said of the fatal accident.

Another passenger who was injured in the 1996 crash, Nicole Johnson, who was then 17, spoke at the hearing Monday about her friend Elbert Knowles.

Carrier got his life back, but without a driver’s license, she said.

“I can’t get Bert back. He wants his license back, but I can’t get Bert back,” Johnson said. “He took the plea. That was his sentence and he should suck it up.”

Arlyce Jewell’s sister, Leah Tessier, said the deaths destroyed her family. She said she doesn’t remember Carrier ever apologizing to the family. “You say today you apologize. Never until today did I hear you say this,” Tessier said. “I believe it’s too late.”

At the close of the hearing, McKee asked Tucker, the hearing examiner, to “have the courage to apply the rule of law.”