Federal authorities have filed criminal charges against the driver of a vehicle that rolled over early Saturday morning in Acadia National Park, killing three people.

Praneeth Manubolu has been charged with three counts of manslaughter in connection with the crash, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.

Three people were killed when the vehicle they were in rolled over early Saturday on Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

The names of the victims have not yet been released. An affidavit filed Saturday by Brian Dominy, an officer with the National Park Service, contains only the initials and dates of birth of the victims, who were ages 27, 30 and 36.

No information about Manubolu is included in the filing. Records indicate he has been assigned an attorney, James Nixon, who could not be reached Monday night for comment.

Manubolu is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Bangor at 1 p.m. Tuesday, according to court records. He’s being held at the Hancock County Jail.

Bar Harbor police and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office referred all questions to Acadia National Park. Park spokeswoman Christie Anastasia did not respond to an email or voicemail Monday night seeking additional information.


According to the affidavit filed in federal court, Manubolu had been drinking and was driving too fast when the accident occurred.

Manubolu reported the accident to Bar Harbor police at 2:47 a.m. Saturday. He was located using GPS coordinates based on his 911 call.

The first officer arrived on the scene within nine minutes, finding Manubolu outside of the vehicle with “a few cuts and scrapes” and detected “a strong odor of alcoholic beverages,” the affidavit said. He was transported to Mount Desert Island Hospital.

Manubolu allegedly told police that he and his friends had been drinking in Bar Harbor before the crash. They closed out the night at Carmen Verandah, where they had “a couple of shots of alcohol” at 1 a.m., Dominy wrote.

“Praneeth Manubolu stated that his friends wanted him to drive as he felt he could,” Dominy wrote.

Manubolu allegedly told a park ranger that he lost control of his vehicle on a curve and hit a tree.


“Praneeth Manubolu made additional statements about being intoxicated,” Dominy wrote. “He further stated one of his passengers warned him about a curve coming up in the roadway, but that he failed to slow down in time.”

Manubolu continued to have “a strong odor of alcohol” on him six hours after the accident, Dominy said. He described Manubolu’s statements as “spontaneous admissions.”

Based upon skid marks and vehicle damage, Dominy said Manubolu was traveling “well over the posted speed limit of 25 mph.”

It wasn’t clear exactly where the crash occurred on the 27-mile Park Loop Road, which begins at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center and turns into a one-way road about 2 miles in. The road is the most heavily traveled part of Acadia and includes several popular stops such as Sand Beach, Thunder Hole and Jordan Pond.

The last accident in Maine that claimed at least three lives was in March, when three people were killed in a head-on crash in Westbrook that was attributed in part to black ice.

Traffic deaths are up 24 percent from last year, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety. Prior to this past weekend, 105 people had died on Maine roads in 2019, compared to 84 during the same period in 2018. The total for 2018, 140, was among the lowest in decades.

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