ROCKLAND — The truck driver accused of causing the deaths of two people in a crash last March that the state argues was caused by his speeding and driving drunk has rejected a state offer of 20 years in prison.

The attorney for Randall Junior Weddle, 54, of Greeneville, Tennessee, has also asked the court to throw out incriminating statements made by his client to police while he was in the hospital in the days after the crash on Route 17 in Washington.

Weddle was indicted in June on two counts of manslaughter, three counts of aggravated operating under the influence, two counts of driving to endanger and eight counts of various trucking rule violations. Those violations include false record-keeping, driving while fatigued, driving while using alcohol and driving while possessing alcohol.

He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges related to the March 18 crash, which claimed the lives of Christina Torres-York, 45, of Warren and Paul Fowles, 74, of Owls Head. Weddle remains at the Knox County Jail in Rockland unable to make $100,000 cash bail.

Weddle’s attorney, David Paris, pointed out in papers filed in Knox County Unified Court in Rockland that his client rejects the state’s initial offer of 30 years in prison with all but 20 years suspended.

Weddle had filed a request earlier in the year to have a new attorney, but Paris said in the filing that he will not be withdrawing from the case. Paris was appointed by the court to represent Weddle after his arrest.

The maximum possible sentence for manslaughter is 30 years in prison.

Paris has filed a motion to suppress statements made by Weddle to police on March 18 and 19 while he was at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. Weddle was not read his Miranda rights against self-incrimination, Paris says in a motion. The questioning was done while Weddle was heavily medicated, lying prone and receiving medical care, according to the defense motion.

Weddle told investigators at the hospital that he had not been feeling well and had taken a drug called Lortab, which contains hydrocodone, according to court documents. Weddle said he had come from Tennessee and made a delivery in Massachusetts before coming to Maine to pick up lumber in Searsmont. He was traveling back to Tennessee to deliver the load when the crash occurred.

The defense attorney has also asked the court to move the trial outside of Knox County, citing extensive pretrial publicity.

“The pretrial publicity in this case is so great that the defendant cannot obtain a fair and impartial trial in Knox County,” Paris argued in his motion.

The next court hearing – a settlement conference – will be held in December or January, according to the court.

Weddle was arrested in Virginia on May 6. Police reported in an affidavit filed in court at the time that Weddle’s license had been revoked in Virginia. He also had his license suspended in Louisiana.

In March, Weddle was driving a 1998 Freightliner loaded with lumber west on Route 17 near Fitch Road in Washington when the rig veered into the eastbound lane, according to police. Fowles was driving east in a 2009 Chevrolet Colorado and was the first vehicle in line hit by the truck.

The trailer and load of lumber then struck a 1998 Chrysler van that was behind Fowles, driven by Torres-York. The van was pushed into a nearby field and burst into flames.

Weddle was taken by a LifeFlight helicopter to CMMC.

According to an affidavit filed by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office to obtain the arrest warrant, Weddle’s blood-alcohol level was 0.09 when a blood sample was taken from him by an emergency medical services worker at the scene of the crash.

A sample taken more than an hour later at the hospital resulted in a blood alcohol level of 0.073. The driver also had hydrocodone in his system, according to the police report.

Under Maine law, a person is considered to be operating under the influence if his or her blood alcohol level is 0.08 or greater. Federal law says a commercial driver is under the influence if his or her blood alcohol level is 0.04 or greater.

Weddle’s truck had been traveling 81 mph shortly before the crash and was going 73 mph when it occurred, according to the affidavit. That information was obtained from data downloaded from the engine control module, according to police. The speed limit is 55 mph on that section of Route 17.

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