September 20, 2013

Judge may forbid Maine suspect from driving work trucks

Mark Stuart was accused of manslaughter after the death of a Sanford teenager last year.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

ALFRED – The president of a Lebanon construction company who struck and killed a Sanford teenager last year while driving a company dump truck with malfunctioning brakes may be barred from driving any of his trucks, depending on a judge's ruling expected next week.

Mark Stuart, 52, of Lebanon, is accused of manslaughter by negligently driving a dump truck he knew was in deficient condition on July 13, 2012.

Fifteen-year-old Corey Cabana was struck by the truck as he skateboarded across Lebanon Street in downtown Sanford.

Stuart, who was indicted on the charge by a York County grand jury in July, has pleaded not guilty.

At his bail hearing Thursday in York County Superior Court, one of Stuart's attorneys, Devin Deane, and the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Thaddeus West, agreed to set bail at $75,000, using Stuart's property as assurance.

But they disagreed on a proposed condition of bail in which West requested that Stuart not be allowed to operate any commercial vehicle while the case is pending.

Justice John O'Neil made no immediate ruling on the proposal.

Stuart's company, Stuart, Torno and Stuart Inc., has also been indicted on a criminal manslaughter charge, the first time in modern memory that prosecutors in York County can recall a business being charged with such a crime.

Although the company itself cannot be imprisoned if convicted, it could be found liable for Cabana's death, which carries licensing implications and fines, West said.

At the time of the crash, Stuart was driving an International dump truck carrying a full load through the center of Sanford, even though it had faulty brakes and its inspection sticker had expired six months previously, West said at the bail hearing.

The company's fleet, which now includes three dump trucks, three pickup trucks, a tractor trailer truck and a mechanics truck, has a long history of faulty inspections and bad brakes dating back more than a decade, West said.

Deane said that barring Stuart from driving the company trucks is an unfair consequence because the company's other drivers could continue driving trucks from the fleet no matter how the judge rules.

Deane argued instead that the court should require Stuart to have the vehicles in his fleet inspected more often and that he should be allowed to continue driving while the case is pending.

"What's to stop the other drivers from endangering the public?" O'Neil asked, adding that both attorneys made compelling arguments.

The judge's temporary ruling, that Stuart cannot drive the company's trucks, remains in effect until he makes a final bail decision Monday.

Cabana would have been a junior this year at Sanford High School.

His obituary in the Portland Press Herald last year said he was enthusiastic about golfing, fishing, playing basketball with his friends and his skateboard – a long board.

 

Staff Writer Scott Dolan can be contacted at: 791-6304 or at

sdolan@mainetoday.com

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This story was updated at 1:23 p.m. on Sept. 20, 2013, to reflect that the incident occurred on July 13, 2012.

 

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