Dakota Brann

AUGUSTA — A West Gardiner man accused of deliberately running his sport utility vehicle into two people in their driveway last April pleaded guilty Wednesday to two felony charges of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon.

Dakota L. Brann, 21, who also has an address in Augusta, was indicted in July on two counts of elevated aggravated assault and two counts of aggravated assault for causing serious injuries to two people with his vehicle, as well as one count of leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury.

On Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center, those charges were dismissed and the reckless conduct charges were added.

No explanation was offered in court for why the altercation occurred, and District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said afterward that there was no clear indication of why it happened, but it might have involved a former girlfriend.

“The defendant claimed it was an accident,” Maloney said, “but obviously we dispute that.”

Brann’s attorney, Darrick Banda, said he did not know why the incident happened.

Brann was sentenced to 20 months in prison, and the remainder of a five-year term was suspended while he serves two years of probation.

Brann has been in jail since his arrest a day after the incident, which was reported on April 11 on Winter Street in Gardiner.

Assistant District Attorney Tracy DeVol told Justice Michaela Murphy that Brann had been in neighborhood where Theresa and Denison Vinal lived, and there was an argument. Brann left, but returned later and pulled into their driveway.

“The Vinals told Dakota to leave,” DeVol said. “They pushed him and told him he had to leave.”

She said Brann got into his vehicle, a 2005 Cadillac Escalade, backed up, then drove forward, striking the couple.

Both Vinals were treated at hospitals.

Banda told the judge he was satisfied that the state could prove the charges against his client.

Shortly after the hearing, Theresa Vinal said her husband was doing better than she was.

“I’m still going to physical therapy and need special glasses,” she said. “It’s a long road.”

Her attorney, Daniel Stevens, said a civil lawsuit is being considered. Maloney said the victims wanted to be sure that there would be a felony conviction and a prison sentence.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

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