A Waterboro man who faces two counts of manslaughter told investigators he had injected a dose of heroin and was struggling to stay awake before the car he was driving veered off the road and struck and killed a man and a 12-year-old boy, according to a court filing made public Friday.

Charles Stoddard York County Sheriff’s Office

Charles B. Stoddard, 64, also told York County detectives that before the crash on July 31 at the Cozi Corner Cafe in East Waterboro, he had not slept for two days and he had injected nearly a quarter-gram of heroin around 8:30 a.m., shortly before leaving his house to get a Pepsi, according to an affidavit by York County Detective Corey Sweatt filed in York County Superior Court in Alfred. The crash happened about 9 a.m.

At his first appearance in court Friday, Stoddard was ordered held on $50,000 cash bail by Justice Wayne Douglas. His case will next be heard by a York County grand jury, which must indict him on the felony manslaughter charges if the case is to go forward, a step that could happen as early as next month.

Stoddard’s attorney, Randall Bates, reserved argument over bail for a later date. York County prosecutor Thaddeus West indicated he is likely to ask the judge to increase Stoddard’s bail amount in the future.

Killed in the crash were Luke Stephenson, 12, and Mark Schepis, 45, both of Waterboro, who were sitting on a curb waiting for a seat in the restaurant to eat breakfast. They were both pronounced dead at the scene.

During the Zoom hearing Friday, Stephenson’s father, David Stephenson, and Schepis’ wife, Jessica Schepis, listened in on the proceedings and requested time to speak in open court. But Douglas denied the request during the brief hearing, at which Stoddard appeared via video-link from York County Jail, bespectacled, wearing a blue paper mask and dressed entirely in prison orange.

Schepis and Stephenson declined interview requests earlier this week. Stoddard declined to be interviewed after a request was relayed to him at York County Jail on Friday.

Mark Schepis Photo courtesy of the Schepis family

The police affidavit filed in support of the charges contains the most detailed picture yet about Stoddard’s alleged actions before and immediately after the crash, and new details from the investigation that led to the charges, including that Stoddard admitted he was driving. Police also gathered accounts from witnesses who said that before the crash, they saw a vehicle matching the description of Stoddard’s vehicle “all over the road” and going fast, one person said. Another witness saw the Oldsmobile with its brake lights on while speeding up and slowing down erratically, the document says.

One witness said Stoddard’s vehicle crossed the yellow line, nearly striking an oncoming car. Another saw Stoddard drive across the center line as he approached the intersection with Route 4/202, drove to the left of the median strip in the opposite lane and made a left turn onto Route 5 heading north.

Police in the arrest affidavit did not estimate how fast Stoddard was driving , but said it appeared he was driving at a “high rate of speed” when he left the road and hit Stephenson and Schepis before careening into the restaurant’s sign. Stoddard’s vehicle came to rest after it struck a Ford F-150 pickup that was leaving the parking lot. A full reconstruction of the crash and examination of Stoddard’s vehicle are underway by Sweatt with assistance from the Saco and Old Orchard Beach police departments, the York County Sheriff’s Office said previously.

When first responders arrived, Stoddard did not want to get out of the vehicle, Sweatt wrote. He was unable to form complete sentences, and his pupils had reduced to pinpoints, an indicator of opiate use.

When police first interviewed Stoddard at Southern Maine Medical Center, where he had been taken immediately after the crash, they found him asleep in an exam room. Sweatt wrote that Stoddard appeared to be truthful when he said he was unaware that he had crashed his car, but he had assumed he did because he was in the hospital.

Sweatt wrote that Stoddard also appeared to be genuinely surprised when told that two people were gravely injured in the crash. During the conversation, police withheld the fact that Stephenson and Schepis had died, but told Stoddard that he could face criminal charges as a result of the investigation.

Stoddard replied: “Great, I never thought at this age that I would spend the rest of my life in jail,” according to police.

Stoddard also told police he was prescribed medicine for back pain, and during a second interview Aug. 4 at his Waterboro home on Main Street, Stoddard showed police prescriptions for cyclobenzaprine, a muscle relaxer; and gabapentin, a non-opioid painkiller used often to treat nerve pain and neuralgia. It was during the second interview at his home that Stoddard told investigators that he had mixed slightly less than 1/4 gram of heroin with water and injected himself around 8:30 a.m. Stoddard told police he left his house about half an hour later; the fatal crash occurred around 9 a.m.

Police were also granted search warrants to test a sample of Stoddard’s blood taken soon after the crash for intoxicants. A second search warrant, for Stoddard’s vehicle, revealed a small amount of heroin and four needles in a bag in the back seat.

Stoddard’s criminal history in Maine dates t0 1992 for a misdemeanor. He was next charged in 2011 with three felony counts of theft by receiving stolen property. For those charges he pleaded to lesser crimes, but it was unknown whether he was sentenced to jail time.

That same year, he was also charged with felony possession of oxycodone, but ultimately received a suspended sentence of 364 days and a year of probation.

No one answered the door at Stoddard’s home Friday, where he lived with his ex-wife’s mother, according to the police affidavit. His ex-wife, Hazel Van Gasbeek of Hollis, said she separated from him long ago, and declined to be interviewed.

“We were divorced nearly 30 years ago,” Van Gasbeek said. “I have no comment other than my heart is broken for the families involved.”

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: