Maine trucker attempts to block statements

| 11/30/2005

Scott Hewitt, the Maine trucker charged in a July 29 accident that killed a Scarborough woman, is attempting to block statements that he made at a hospital and at the sheriff’s office the day of the accident as well as admissions he made to police two weeks later.

According to the Kennebec Journal, Hewitt’s attorney, Joel Vincent, claims that painkillers given to Hewitt after the accident for a broken kneecap may have interfered with his decisions to waive his rights and talk to police.

“The issue is really whether he appreciated the Miranda warnings, given his condition,” Vincent said.

Meanwhile, Hewitt testified in court Tuesday, Nov. 29, that he didn’t the car in front of him and that he didn’t see construction signs in the minutes before the accident, the Journal reported.

Hewitt has been charged with operating after suspension, possession of a suspended license, operating without authority, operating after being placed out of service, two counts of false record of duty status, operating without a medical certificate, operating while in possession of a radar detector and operating while in possession of a controlled substance.

He has also been charged with two civil charges – operating an unregistered motor vehicle and operating without insurance.

The charges stem from an accident on the Maine Turnpike in which Hewitt’s truck crashed into a car and killed the driver, 40-year-old Tina Turcotte of Scarborough.

The possibility of a vehicular manslaughter charge was ruled out after investigators determined that Hewitt was not impaired at the time of the wreck and that speed and the condition of his truck were not factors.

Hewitt had 63 driving convictions and 23 license suspensions on his record, according to The Associated Press.

The Hewitt case has prompted the Maine Legislature to consider a bill that would create harsher penalties for multiple driving offenses. The bill would require drivers caught with suspended licenses to have their vehicles impounded for the duration of the suspension. Drivers with repeat suspensions in a three-year period could have their license revoked for up to 10 years and could face jail time if caught driving during that time.