Danielle Larochelle Franklin County Detention Center

FARMINGTON — A Kingfield woman pleaded guilty Friday to a lesser charge of drunken driving in a fatal crash in July 2018.

Danielle M. Larochelle, 32, had faced up to 30 years on a manslaughter charge and 10 years on an operating under the influence charge resulting in death.

In an agreement with the state, she pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal operating under influence, according documents filed at Farmington court. She faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

A sentencing date has not been set.

Larochelle was driving a 2004 Chevrolet Aveo west on West Kingfield Road in Kingfield about 10:10 p.m. July 8, 2018. She reportedly attempted to avoid a deer in the road, lost control and the car struck several trees, according to a release the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

Nicholas Shurtleff, 25, of Strong was ejected from the car and died at the scene. Larochelle and a second passenger, Benjamin Bowman, also of Kingfield, were injured and taken by ambulance to a hospital, according the release. They were not wearing seat belts. A third passenger, Patrick Wyman of Kingfield, who was wearing a seat belt, was not taken by ambulance to a hospital.

Larochelle was arrested on an OUI charge in August 2018 and indicted in January 2019 on a charge of OUI resulting in death and manslaughter.

The state dismissed the charges without prejudice in June 2019 because more evidence needed to be investigated, Deputy District Attorney James Andrews said at the time. She was reindicted on the charges in October 2019.

According to a Sheriff’s Office release in August 2018, Larochelle’s blood-alcohol content at the time of the crash was 0.219%, which is more than twice the legal limit of 0.08%.

There have been a couple of hearings on limiting evidence and testimony in the case within the past year, with the most recent one Feb. 11 regarding handling and testing blood samples.

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