AUGUSTA — A West Gardiner man accused of deliberately running his SUV into two people last April pleaded guilty Wednesday to two felony-level 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, which say he caused serious injuries to two people with his vehicle, and 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 there was no clear information about to 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 the reason behind it other than he did not think it involved a girlfriend.

Brann was sentenced to an initial 20 months in prison, and the remainder of the 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 at 6:04 p.m. April 11 on Winter Street in Gardiner.

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

She said another confrontation occurred with a group of people. “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 the state could prove the charges based on testimony of disinterested witnesses.

Devol told Murphy that one of the victims was in the court with her attorney but did not wish to address the judge.

Shortly after the hearing, Theresa Vinal, who was one of the two people injured, 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 contemplated.

Maloney said the victims wanted to be sure that there would be a felony conviction and a prison sentence for Brann.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams

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