The owner of this sedan died from injuries sustained while standing outside the parked car when it was struck by an insulation company box truck alongside Route 3 at the Bluffs in Bar Harbor. PHOTO BY MARK GOOD

Driver in fatal faced federal drug charges

BAR HARBOR — The driver of the box truck involved in a fatal crash here last week has a criminal history that includes once being charged federally with conspiracy to distribute heroin.

Miguel Garcia, 41, of Bangor was at the wheel of a truck owned by Builders Installed Products of Hermon that crossed the oncoming lane of Route 3 and struck a car parked in the turnout in an area known as the Bluffs.

The driver of the car, Roger Beghtol, 79, of North Carolina, was standing outside his vehicle and died as the result of injuries he sustained in the collision.

The accident remains under investigation, and Bar Harbor police have not commented on what may have caused the truck to veer into the parked car or whether drugs or alcohol were involved. Blood samples from drivers involved in fatal crashes typically are taken and analyzed for the presence of intoxicants.

At this point, Garcia has not been charged with any crime.

However, the Bangor man does have a history of drug-related activity, according to court documents filed in connection with his 2013 arrest in New Hampshire. A background check by police conducted during the traffic stop led to a federal drug charge that revealed Garcia “had been identified in several police investigations involving drugs and firearms” and might be affiliated with a gang.

Garcia was a passenger in a car driven by Janelle Evans of Bangor during the early morning of Aug. 13, 2013. The car was pulled over on Interstate 95 by a New Hampshire state trooper for a minor traffic infraction. The owner of the car, Robert Barter of Baileyville, was in the back seat.

A series of interactions between the trio and the trooper led to the trooper using his drug-detecting dog to check the outside of the vehicle. The dog indicated the presence of drugs, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court of New Hampshire.

Subsequently, a search warrant was obtained. Court records state troopers found a “heroin kit” in Evans’ purse and a plastic bag containing “several hundred” packages of heroin under the back seat of the car. Garcia, Evans and Barter were arrested and taken to the Rockingham County Jail.

In February 2014, Garcia and the others were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute heroin. In response, the trio filed a motion to suppress evidence gathered in the traffic stop, claiming the search and seizure were unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Steven McAuliffe agreed, granting the motion in October 2014.

As a result, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of New Hampshire filed a motion to dismiss the case with prejudice. The motion was granted and charges dropped against Garcia and the other defendants.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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