Police and firefighters work March 18, 2016, at the scene of multivehicle crash on Route 17, near the Fitch Road intersection, in the town of Washington in Knox County. The five-vehicle crash killed two people. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

The state’s highest court has rejected an imprisoned truck driver’s appeal of the 30-year-prison sentence he received in connection with a five-vehicle crash in 2016 that killed two people in the town of Washington in Knox County.

Randall J. Weddle, center, sits with his lawyers during his trial in 2018 at Knox County Superior Court. Stephen Betts/The Courier-Gazette file

Randall J. Weddle, 61, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with five of the years suspended, after he was found guilty in 2018 on 15 counts, including two counts of manslaughter.

Weddle’s punishment was the longest prison sentence ever imposed in Maine related to a vehicular manslaughter case.

In March 2016, Weddle was driving a tractor-trailer with a flatbed loaded with lumber when he crossed into the oncoming lane on Route 17 in Washington, causing a five-vehicle crash.

Christina Torres-York, 45, of Warren and Paul Fowles, 74, of Owls Head were killed in the crash.

Testimony at Weddle’s jury trial indicated he was drunk, speeding and fatigued, and had falsified records, at the time of the crash.


Weddle’s record before the crash included 12 convictions for operating under the influence and 11 speeding tickets. His driver’s license was suspended in Louisiana and Virginia at the time of the crash because of drunken driving convictions.

Weddle lived in Virginia, on the Tennessee border, and when his license in Virginia was suspended for drunken driving, he got a license in Tennessee.

Weddle appealed the sentence imposed by active retired Superior Court Justice William Stokes, arguing in his appeal, filed by Portland lawyer Michelle R. King, the sentence was excessively harsh and out of proportion to the crime.

The appeal cited cases in which other defendants committed manslaughter while driving and received more lenient sentences in an effort to show the sentence was “grossly disproportionate.”

In a decision released last Tuesday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court rejected the appeal and affirmed Weddle’s sentence as reasonable and not excessively harsh.

“The court did not err in considering the facts of the case and the goals of punishment,” the justices wrote in their opinion. “The court emphasized that Weddle was not only speeding while ill, fatigued, and under the influence of prescription drugs and alcohol but also behind the wheel of a large tractor trailer that the court characterized as a ‘massive projectile,’ ‘missile,’ and ‘deadly weapon that’s travelling on the road.'”

The justices noted that the sentence “also observes the gravity of the crime’s effect on the victims and their families,” and also considers public safety because of Weddle’s criminal past and history of losing driving privileges in multiple states.

Weddle has an earliest custody release date listed as April of 2036. He is now imprisoned at South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, New Jersey, according to Maine Department of Correction records. Information was not available Monday to explain why Weddle is in prison in another state.

In 2020, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court heard Weddle’s first appeal of his conviction. The high court upheld the conviction, despite finding that Maine’s law at the time requiring blood tests at the scene of fatal accidents was unconstitutional.

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