Rene Romero, right, appears in Biddeford District Court with attorney David Ferrucci on Thursday via teleconference from York County Jail. LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune

WATERBORO — The family of an infant girl seriously injured in a recent car accident is seeking help for her medical expenses and the man police say is responsible could face up to five years in jail.

Ellen Kennedy, 37, of Sanford was driving east on Route 202 in Waterboro on Thursday and had stopped in traffic to make a left-hand turn onto Straw Mill Road when her 2004 Jeep Cherokee was struck from behind by a 26-foot, 2019 Freightliner box truck at about 6:30 a.m., according to York County Sheriff William L. King Jr.

Kennedy’s 10-month-old daughter, who was a passenger in the car, was taken by helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland and sustained serious injuries, according to King.

The driver of the truck, Rene Romero, 53, of Lynn, Massachusetts, was arrested and charged with aggravated driving to endanger, a Class C felony.
Romero appeared in Biddeford District Court with attorney David Ferrucci, the lawyer of the day, via video conferencing on Friday.

Romero, who does not speak English, sat silently as Ferrucci spoke on his behalf. Court proceedings were translated to Spanish by an interpreter on speaker phone.

Ferrucci told Judge Richard Mulhern that the charge against Romero had been explained to him and Romero was aware of his rights.
Romero did not make a plea on Friday. His bail, as requested by Prosecutor John Connelly, was set at $10,000 cash. Romero is not allowed to drive a car as a condition of bail, and he cannot have any contact with Kennedy.

Romero is scheduled to appear at York County Superior Court in Alfred for a dispositional conference at 8:30 a.m. on May 8.

An online fundraising page has been set up to raise money for Gabrielle, the 10-month old who was seriously injured in Thursday’s accident.

According to the fundraising page, Gabrielle was being driven to her grandparent’s house when the accident happened.

Gabrielle has “a major brain bleed,” and her family and friends are praying that she will pull through, according to the GoFundMe page.

“Like any accident, her mother and father were not emotionally prepared and financially prepared for the unforeseen,” states the GoFundMe Page. “Any donation, whether it be $1 or $100 will greatly be appreciated to help with her medical expenses. Please find the time and the ability to help support our families miracle and angel that is in a fight for her life.”

To go to Gabrielle’s GoFundMe page, go to https://bit.ly/2SULpX7.

As of Friday afternoon, Romero remained at York County Jail.

Aggravated driving to endanger is a Class C crime punishable by up to 5 years incarceration and a $5,000 fine.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 780-9015 or [email protected]

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