Windsor man enters plea in death of pedestrian

A Windsor man has pleaded guilty to being under the influence of prescription painkillers and marijuana when his vehicle struck a pedestrian who died days later.

Joshua Erskine pleaded guilty Wednesday to manslaughter and aggravated criminal operating under the influence in the death of 81-year-old Ruth Epperson in Augusta in March 2012. Erskine said in Kennebec County Superior Court that he was under the influence of Percocet, for which he did not have a prescription, and marijuana when he struck Epperson, who was on the sidewalk. She died five days later.

The Kennebec Journal reported that the 25-year-old Erskine will likely be sentenced next month. Under a plea agreement, he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison with all but eight years suspended and four years of probation.



Auburn man is sentenced for baseball bat attack

An Auburn man has been sentenced to a year and a half in prison for using a baseball bat to hit a man during an argument over laundry.

Rasaun Hampton was sentenced after pleading guilty Wednesday in Androscoggin County Superior Court to aggravated assault.

Police said the 38-year-old Hampton hit Eric Wright in the kitchen of Wright’s apartment in April. Hampton thought his clothes were being washed in Wright’s apartment, but they were not.

The Sun Journal reported that witnesses said Hampton had been staying in an apartment above Wright’s, and the resident of that apartment had taken Hampton’s clothes to Wright’s apartment to launder them, but had returned them.

Wright was hospitalized with a 3-inch cut above his left eye, a fractured skull and bleeding in his brain.



Superintendent Welsh will retire at end of June

RSU 5 Superintendent Shannon Welsh will retire at the end of June, the district announced Thursday. Welsh will depart after five years leading the district.

During that time, the previously separate school systems of Freeport, Durham and Pownal consolidated into the regional school unit. Welsh helped create a strategic plan, reform professional learning, consolidate services and shape capital expense plans for the next two decades, said RSU Board Chair Nelson Larkins. Her last day will be June 30.

“I can personally attest to the fact Shannon has always put our kids first,” Larkins said. “Her passion for education and children will be hard to replace.”



Robbery attempt under investigation by police

Police are investigating a report of a robbery attempt outside the Great Lost Bear pub Wednesday night.

A patron reported that he was accosted by a masked man wielding a pipe or crowbar about 9:30 p.m. The victim did not give the man anything and ran away. He was not injured, police said.

The robber was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, a mask, light-colored and ragged blue jeans, work boots and a Carhartt-style jacket.

Police are seeking witnesses, in particular a woman who had a conversation with the victim shortly before the robbery attempt and borrowed his cellphone. Police say she may have seen something that could be helpful to the investigation.

The woman is described as having long, straight hair and wearing a blue, double-breasted wool pea coat, light jeans and possibly red boots, police said.


Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police at 874-8575.


Investigators are unable to find cause of blaze

The Maine fire marshal’s office says investigators were unable to determine the cause of a fire that claimed the life of a man at his home in Oxford.

Officials said Thursday that extensive damage to the house prevented investigators from reaching any conclusions other than that the fire started in a bedroom.

Firefighters found the body of 55-year-old Peter Lowe on his bed. He died from smoke inhalation.


Officials say the fire could have smoldered for several hours before anyone noticed because Lowe’s waterfront home was the only occupied dwelling in the area. Investigators said there was no sign of smoke detectors in the home.


Bristol Seafood receives investment to expand

Bristol Seafood in Portland has received an investment that will allow it to expand its product line, open a second production facility in southern Maine, and increase its distribution system, according to the company. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

David Roux, who is originally from Lewiston and is a summer resident of Harpswell, made the investment.

Bristol Seafood employs 75 people. The company has been operating on the Portland Fish Pier since 1992.



3 officers in videotaped 2009 incident identified

The Seabrook town manager has released the names of three police officers suspended after a video surfaced showing a suspect being slammed into a wall at the police station more than four years ago.

Town Manager Bill Manzi said the officers identified in the Nov. 11, 2009, video are Keith Dietenhofer, Mark Richardson and Adam Laurent. They are on paid administrative leave.

Police Chief Lee Bitomske said each officer has six to 12 years of experience as patrolmen.

The U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI have joined the state attorney general’s investigation of the incident.


The police report from that day says then-19-year-old Michael Bergeron, arrested on misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and possessing drugs, was struggling and being uncooperative.

Laurent said in the report that Bergeron was “an emotional roller coaster” as he was being booked, one minute happy, the next making derogatory comments to officers. He said Bergeron refused to walk back to his jail cell and that “Richardson appeared to perform an arm bar” on Bergeron.

“Due to Bergeron’s prior spitting and failure to comply to anyone’s order as he was on an emotional roller coaster, I pepper-sprayed him as he looked back at us in the hallway,” Laurent wrote.

Bergeron’s attorney, Scott Gleason, told WMUR-TV that the video and police reports “don’t square up.” He said he’s concerned that what he saw in the video was not in the police report.

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