Another Maine trucker has extensive prior record

| 3/22/2006

While state legislators are considering a bill that would impose harsher punishments for repeat offenders, Maine state police have arrested another truck driver with a long history of violations.

Vaughn Hardesty, a logging trucker from Windham, ME, was arrested on charges of driving his rig while intoxicated on Tuesday, March 21. Police found that Hardesty was also driving on a suspended license and had at least 19 previous driving convictions on his record, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The case bears more than a passing resemblance to that of Scott Hewitt, the trucker involved in a fatal wreck in July 2005, who was found to have a suspended license at the time of the crash and a multitude of prior violations on his record.

Hardesty’s arrest happened as state legislators are still working on a bill that came about as a result of Hewitt’s wreck, which killed Tina Turcotte of Scarborough, ME. The bill, known as “Tina’s Law,” calls for mandatory jail sentences and fines for habitual offenders when they are caught driving illegally.

The Press Herald reported that Hardesty was arrested after several witnesses told police they saw his logging truck weave into oncoming traffic and force cars off the road. Police told the Press Herald that the truck nearly tipped over when it rounded a corner near an elementary school.

The truck kept going, even after police flashed their lights, and was only stopped after a police cruiser cut it off at an intersection.

Hardesty was also charged with driving to endanger, operating an unsecured load, operating after being disqualified for commercial driving and driving a vehicle with a detectable presence of alcohol, the Press Herald reported.

That last charge came after police found one half-full vodka bottle and one empty one in Hardesty’s cab.