SKOWHEGAN – The Somerset County District Attorney’s Office will not prosecute the truck driver who spilled his load of logs through a home in Jackman in July, killing a 5-year-old boy.

Neither the speed nor the condition of Christian Cloutier’s logging truck constituted a high degree of criminal negligence, says Evert Fowle, district attorney for Somerset and Kennebec counties.

Cloutier could have faced a manslaughter charge for the death of Liam Mahaney, who was crushed by the logs as he slept on a downstairs couch.

“There was some speculation that Mr. Cloutier had had a seizure. He had made comments that he had thought he had fallen asleep. And there’s even some evidence that he may not have negotiated the turn correctly,” Fowle said Thursday, but none of that evidence makes the crash a criminal act.

On July 19, a logging truck driven by Cloutier, of Quebec, and owned by DAN Express in Quebec crashed through two telephone poles and flipped over next to the Mahaney family’s house on Main Street.

The tree-length logs spilled through the west wall of the home, filling and demolishing the downstairs, and caused the second story to collapse to ground level.

Police determined that Cloutier’s truck had been going 1 to 9 mph over the speed limit, meaning 26 to 34 mph at the time of the crash, said Assistant District Attorney Brent Davis.

He said police were not able to gauge a completely accurate weight of the logs because they were dumped, but the truck was not carrying so many that they would have caused the truck to tip. “The weight of the logs was not a factor in the accident,” Davis said.

Steven Silin, a lawyer representing Liam’s parents, Gary and Christina Mahaney, said, “The Mahaneys, first of all, are extremely disappointed that there weren’t further steps taken toward criminal prosecution.

“It appears that Mr. Cloutier is not going to be held accountable criminally. We think he should be,” Silin said.

Silin’s law firm, Berman & Simmons, hired its own expert to determine the approximate speed of the truck and found it was greater than what police reported, he said, though he declined to provide a number.

“No amount of money is going to fairly compensate what the Mahaneys have been through,” Silin said. “But the driver and his company need to be held accountable.”

Fred Costlow of Richardson, Whitman, Large & Badger, an attorney representing the trucking company, said the company and the driver are deeply saddened by the crash and Liam’s death.

Fowle’s office did recommend to the Secretary of State’s Office that Cloutier’s license in Maine be suspended for as long as three years.

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Erin Rhoda can be contacted at 612-2368 or at:

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