Maine driver in 2010 fatality gets eight-year sentence

A Bridgton man has been sentenced to eight years and one day in prison after pleading guilty to being drunk when he struck and killed a Massachusetts state highway engineer in 2010.

Jeremy Gardner, 31, also was sentenced Tuesday to seven years’ probation. He pleaded guilty Monday in Middlesex Superior Court to charges including vehicular homicide, driving under the influence of liquor and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

Authorities say Gardner was drunk when his pickup truck hit 57-year-old Gregory Vilidnitsky in 2010 as he worked on Route 9 in Framingham.

Gardner kept driving after striking Vilidnitsky and tried to flee after he crashed into an oil tanker.


High court: Parents had no legal duty to prevent suicide

Maine’s highest court has ruled that parents of a 25-year-old woman who committed suicide while living at their house were not legally obligated to prevent her from killing herself.

In Tuesday’s unanimous ruling, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that James and Jadzia Davies of Norway did not have a legal duty to prevent their daughter, Kristin Cummings, from harming herself.

Cummings shot herself with her father’s gun in 2008 at her parents’ home two days after visiting a local hospital for depression. After her death, her husband sued his in-laws on behalf of his two children.

A lower court judge ruled there was no evidence the parents should be liable for the suicide.

The justices agreed, saying the parents were neither medical professionals nor law enforcement officials.

Scam warning issued after Harpswell man victimized

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about a telephone scam that preys on people’s concern for their loved ones and that is making the rounds in southern Maine.

Sheriff Kevin Joyce said that the scam cost a Harpswell resident $7,000 that was wired to Haiti to help a relative who, it turns out, was not in Haiti.

In February, a woman in Gray fell victim to a similar ruse and sent $2,500 to Madrid, Spain, because she thought her grandson had been in a car accident.

In Saturday’s case, the man received a call from two men who said they were with the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and that the man’s grandson had been arrested. The man spoke to a person who sounded like his grandson and who said he needed money for attorney’s fees and bail.

For more about scams, go to the Maine Attorney General’s website.


Senate passes bill shifting Housing Authority’s oversight

The Maine State Senate has given final approval and sent to the governor a bill to shift oversight of the Maine State Housing Authority.

Senate Majority Leader Jon Courtney’s bill, L.D. 1778, gives the authority’s board of commissioners oversight authority and the power to review, compensate or remove the agency’s director. Present law gives the director broader powers and duties.

The bill also establishes staggered terms for the commissioners.

Passage came a week after the current director, Dale McCormick, submitted her resignation after coming under fire from some commissioners.

The bill is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Paul LePage.

The quasi-independent housing authority issues bonds to finance single-family and multiple-family housing for low- and moderate-income families.


Police unable to interview driver believed to cause crash

The investigation into a crash that forced police to close Route 1 for several hours last week has been hampered by the fact that police have been unable to interview the driver who allegedly caused the accident.

Police Lt. Stan Cielinsky said the driver, Joseph Boyington, 22, and his passenger, Michael Mason, 21, both of Brunswick, were hospitalized after the crash March 19.

Cielinsky said Mason remains in Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston — his condition was not available Tuesday. Boyington, who was hospitalized at Maine Medical Center, was discharged Tuesday.

Police said Boyington was driving a 2003 Acura when it hit the rear of a 2008 Lincoln SUV driven by Stephanie Thacker, 43, of Brunswick. Thacker and her 11-year-old son, Adam, were not seriously injured.


Police: Scissors-wielding man charged in stabbing incident

A Brunswick man is being held on $50,000 bail for allegedly stabbing another man in the neck with a pair of scissors.

Brunswick police arrested Roger Walker, 46, on charges of elevated aggravated assault for allegedly stabbing David Grant, 43, of Brunswick. He was arrested at 11:30 p.m. Monday not far from 101 Merrymeeting Road, where the attack occurred, police said.

Grant was taken by ambulance to Maine Medical Center, where he was treated for injuries that are not life-threatening, police said.


Five face charges after fire led to discovery of meth lab

Authorities have charged five people in connection with what police called a methamphetamine lab that was discovered after a mobile home fire in Kingfield last month.

Police said Seth Hinkley of Strong; Joshua Bartlett of New Portland; David Coffren of Kingfield; Charity Haines Christopher of Farmington; and Isaac Moody of West Farmington are facing a range of charges from drug trafficking to arson.

Investigators found remains of the methamphetamine laboratory after the fire on Feb. 8.

Matthew Cashman, a Maine Drug Enforcement Agency supervisor for the region, said the home was a “shake-and-bake” laboratory, named after the technique of mixing chemicals in small containers to make the meth. The method is highly risky.


Officials say damage inhibits efforts to find fire’s cause

Fire investigators say they can’t determine what caused a fire in downtown Fort Kent that destroyed five buildings and left 10 people homeless.

But investigators with the Maine Fire Marshal’s office said Tuesday they were able to determine that the Sunday fire started inside a building owned by Nadeau’s House of Furniture. It then spread to the other buildings.

The extensive damage from the fire hampered efforts to find its cause.

There were no injuries.

Between 75 and 100 firefighters from Maine and New Brunswick fought the fire, which was reported just after midnight Sunday.


Maine farmer loses about 200 pigs, livelihood in fire

Authorities say about 200 pigs died in a fire at an eastern Maine farm that may have been started by an electrical malfunction.

Sherman Fire Chief Todd Hayes said no one was injured in the blaze reported by farmer Sam Sides at about 11:15 p.m. Sunday.

Sides said he got up late Sunday night to check on two sows who were about to give birth. Instead he watched as his animals, his 70-by-170-foot barn and his livelihood went up in flames.

The family has insurance.