AUGUSTA — The man accused of driving drunk in an accident that killed a Litchfield couple had a blood alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit, according to police.

Shawn W. Metayer

Shawn W. Metayer, 60, of Litchfield made his initial court appearance Monday on two Class A counts of manslaughter and one count of criminal aggravated operating under the influence, all felony charges punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Metayer was driving a Lincoln sport utility vehicle that police say crossed the centerline on Hallowell Road just before 8 p.m. Nov. 9 in Litchfield. His vehicle then hit a pickup truck driven by Derek Trudeau, 48. Trudeau and his wife, Stephanie, 40, who were killed on impact, according to Katharine England, a spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The Trudeaus were on their way to pick up their 9-year-old daughter, who was at a friend’s house, when their vehicle was struck, according to police.

In an affidavit filed by State Trooper James Moore seeking an arrest warrant for Metayer, the trooper wrote he could smell intoxicating liquors coming from Metayer’s breath. When asked if he had been drinking, Metayer said he had had three drinks.

Moore wrote that Metayer was hard to understand and “was having trouble balancing and he was using the vehicle to hold himself up.”

“When Metayer walked away from the vehicle with me he fell,” according to Moore’s affidavit. “A firefighter had to help me hold Metayer up to walk to my cruiser.”

Later at the Gardiner Police Station, Metayer refused to take a breathalyzer test and also declined to consent to a blood test. At the police station, Metayer complained of chest pains and was then taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta because his chest was injured in the crash.

Moore said he sought and was granted a search warrant, and on Nov. 12 seized a vial of Metayer’s blood that had been drawn by hospital staff when he had arrived after the accident. He said the blood was tested at the state Department of Health and Human Services laboratory and came back indicating it was 0.19 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, more than twice the state’s 0.08 limit for driving.

Bail was set Monday at $100,000 of property as surety, or $30,000 cash, an amount his lawyer, Tim Zerillo, said he was hopeful Metayer could pay.

“I’m happy that Justice (William) Anderson set a reasonable bail in this case, and I’m hoping my client can make that bail so he can assist in his defense,” Zerillo said Monday after Metayer appeared in court.

Zerillo had sought bail of $5,000 cash. He said Metayer never could have made the $500,000 bail sought by the state.

Following the court proceeding, Zerillo said Metayer was a firefighter and paramedic for 25 years for the city of Lewiston and is now in the nursing field, having worked as a nurse anesthetist in the past, though he is not employed now.

“I think it is noteworthy my client is a person who really has dedicated his life to saving lives,” Zerillo said on behalf of Metayer.

Stephanie Trudeau Photo courtesy of Marc Miville

Maeghan Maloney, district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties, said the serious allegations against Metayer prompted her decision to seek bail that was significantly more than what the judge would eventually order.

“When we asked for $500,000 cash bail, we were arguing the severity of the crime, with $250,000 for each person killed, especially given a 9-year-old girl is orphaned as a result of this crime,” Maloney said following the court session in which Metayer did not enter a plea. Defendants generally do not enter a plea in their initial court appearances on felony charges.

Maloney said she expected Metayer will make bail and be released from Kennebec County jail, where he was taken after he was arrested by state police Sunday at his Litchfield house.

Moore’s affidavit states at that 7:39 p.m. on Nov. 9, he received a call from the Regional Communications Center in Augusta reporting a vehicle was speeding and weaving from lane to lane on Route 126 in Litchfield.

The caller reported the vehicle, a black SUV, turned onto Hallowell Road and was still driving fast, at what she estimated to be more than 100 mph, and weaving. At 7:49 p.m., the same caller reported the black SUV had crashed and a second vehicle was involved.

Derek Trudeau with his grandson, Leo. Photo courtesy of Caleb Trudeau

Moore said he arrived at the accident scene and saw a truck in the ditch and a black Lincoln SUV with front-end damage. He said it appeared the Lincoln, driven by Metayer, had crossed the centerline and collided with the Trudeaus’ pickup truck.

Metayer told Moore he had been drinking at The Cage, a bar and restaurant in Lewiston, according to the affidavit. Moore wrote that he later went to that bar and obtained surveillance footage of Metayer at the bar. He also obtained two receipts that were charged to Metayer’s credit card, one for two mixed drinks made with Tito’s vodka and the other for two drinks at $10.50 each.

Metayer is next due in court March 10, for a dispositional hearing, a process in which, generally, the defense and prosecutors discuss possible resolutions to cases.

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