A Maine Truck Driver Has Been Accused of Watching TV When He Fatally Struck a Falmouth Couple
According to the Kennebec Journal, new details have emerged in the case of a fatal crash that happened last year involving a truck driver from Portland and a couple from Falmouth, Maine.
The KJ says that 40-year-old, David E Herring of South Portland, was driving his 18-wheeler on the Maine Turnpike in January of 2021 when he hit the car travelling ahead of him.
The two people in the vehicle that was struck were both killed. The victims were Elizabeth Gattis (Betsy) and her husband, Geoff Gattis, both 68 of Falmouth. The KJ indicates the couple were on their way home after visiting with grandchildren in Massachusetts, the paper reports.
Reports from the crash say that traffic had slowed down in front of Herring's 18-wheeler, but he didn't notice in time and was unable to stop prior to striking the Gattis' vehicle.
New details in the case are now bringing accusations of distracted driving in the form of streaming television. Prosecutors have indicated that they are likely to allege that Herring was watching a 'Netflix show about teenage magicians', the Kennebec Journal reported.
Back in July of 2021 Herring pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges, though the case remains open. The judge in the case has ordered Herring to not drive while the case remains active, according to the KJ.
Herring was offered a plea deal last year by prosecutors, though he rejected it. The plea deal would have sent Herring to prison for 10 years of a 15-year sentence. The case is now likely headed for trail, the newspaper reports.
Herring's attorney, Rob Andrews, said that his client was in fact distracted prior to the crash, though he said it had nothing to do with Netflix. He said while his client did have Netflix streaming in the cab, his client only used it to listen to as a radio substitute and wasn't actually watching it, says the KJ.
Andrews said that his client was instead distracted by another motorist that abruptly slowed down and pulled off the highway. Andrews alleges that Herring's eyes followed the motorist pulling off the highway and when he looked back ahead the traffic in front of him had slowed, according to the KJ.
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