Motorist drove 'vast' number of miles before fatal crash

Fatal accident in Bar Harbor

BAR HARBOR, Maine (AP) - The district attorney's office says a Virginia motorist drove a "vast" number of miles with little rest before a fatal crash in a restaurant parking lot in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Police say they charged 36-year-old Justin Shell of Rockingham, Virginia, with manslaughter, driving to endanger, and reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon because he knew he was weary at the time of the crash on Tuesday. Court documents indicated he also may have suffered a medical problem.

Bar Harbor woman killed when truck careens into parking lot

Seventy-six-year-old Connie Birkenmeier of Bar Harbor was killed and several vehicles were damaged when Shell's pickup drifted off Route 3 and into the parking lot of the Chart Room restaurant.

Hancock County District Attorney Matthew Foster said, "We all get tired but a reasonable person would pull over and not endanger everyone else on the road, including themselves...It's so dangerous. Vehicles are so fast nowadays….

The defense contends the crash was a tragedy, not a crime. Shell's Defense Attorney John Steed said, "Everything that the state presented suggested that he was tired or overtired. So I think if you got to a trial you'd be deciding if he was too tired and from what they had so far, there didn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary…"

A judge set bail at $5,000 Wednesday during his initial court appearance.

Shell is due back in court on October 12th. 

© 2017 Associated Press


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