December 20, 2012

Teen driver in fatal Maine crash admits she violated probation

By Scott Dolan
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – A teenage driver who avoided juvenile detention by accepting a plea agreement after a fatal crash admitted in Juvenile Court on Thursday that she violated terms of her probation, and now could be held until she turns 21.

Morgan Kesseli, now 19, lived in Paris in October 2010, when she lost control of the sport utility vehicle she was driving, crossed the center line on Waterford Road in Harrison and crashed into trees.

One passenger, her 18-year-old friend Thomas "Colby" McLendon, died. Two other passengers, Jacob Hill, then 20, and Timothy Coffin, then 21, were badly hurt.

As part of Kesseli's plea agreement on July 27, the two most serious charges against her – manslaughter and elevated aggravated assault – were dropped.

She was found guilty of three counts of aggravated assault, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and aggravated driving to endanger.

She was sentenced to 21 months of probation, the amount of time until her 21st birthday.

By Nov. 12, she allegedly had violated the terms of her probation. According to the allegation against Kesseli, Bangor police went to her apartment at the request of her mother to check on Kesseli's welfare.

She apparently had moved out.

Prosecutors say her failure to notify authorities that she had moved was her first probation offense.

Police in Rumford found Kesseli on Nov. 21, and said she admitted to using marijuana and cocaine.

She was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the probation violation notice.

Kesseli admitted to those violations before Judge Keith Powers. He ordered her committed to a juvenile correctional facility for a term to be determined by the Department of Corrections but not past her 21st birthday, according to the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office.

Investigators concluded that excessive speed, not intoxication, was the primary factor in the crash, but prosecutors have said that Kesseli's substance use became "a primary concern" afterward.


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


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