Bar Harbor Police question a man following a fatal crash involving a box truck owned by a Hermon contracting firm, on Route 3 in Bar Harbor on Sept. 15. PHOTO BY MARK GOOD

Drug dog sparks fatal crash search



BAR HARBOR — Suspicious that drug or alcohol use might be a factor in a Sept. 15 fatal motor vehicle accident, police here acted quickly in obtaining search warrants for a blood sample from the driver, as well as for the truck he was driving and its contents.

In one of the affidavits used to support issuing the warrants, Bar Harbor Patrolman Dustin Tierney noted that a state police drug-detecting dog at the accident scene alerted to the presence of drugs in a black backpack taken from inside the box truck driven by Miguel Garcia, 41, of Bangor.

The affidavits show police also had concerns about Garcia’s remarks following the crash, his refusal to cooperate, his alleged ties to drug activity and the post-crash activities of Garcia’s passenger and another of his co-workers, who was in another vehicle.

Garcia was driving a truck owned by Builders Installed Products of Hermon when the vehicle 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.

In the affidavit in support of the warrant to obtain a blood sample from Garcia while he was being treated at Mount Desert Island Hospital, Tierney states that the Bangor man refused to cooperate with first responders at the scene, saying “he did not like the insinuating context” of questions about the crash and his possible use of intoxicants. Garcia additionally made mention of calling an attorney, refused intravenous medical treatment and, at the hospital, refused to provide both a blood and urine sample, the affidavit states.

At the time of the accident, Garcia was following a vehicle driven by his co-worker, Joseph Angelo. After the crash, Angelo and Garcia’s passenger, Aaron Bangs, engaged in behavior that further aroused the suspicions of police.

After Garcia was removed from the truck and taken to the hospital, Angelo and Bangs reportedly entered the cab of the box truck without permission of authorities, the affidavit states. An officer ordered them to get out.

The pair reportedly walked a short distance away, crossed over the guardrail and went down a steep embankment. Bangs later told police he was urinating.

The pair made a second attempt to get to the truck. An officer spotted them near items that had been removed from the vehicle and ordered them to leave the scene, according to the affidavit.

Because the box truck is a commercial vehicle, Bar Harbor police notified the Maine State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement unit of the accident. Through their contact with state police, officers here learned that Garcia and some of his associates were known to “be involved with the trafficking, use and possession of illegal drugs,” Tierney stated.

As of Tuesday, no documents relating to what was discovered during the execution of the warrants had been filed in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court. At this point, Garcia has not been charged with any crime.

Bar Harbor Police Chief Jim Willis said Wednesday that his department is working steadily on the case, which remains active. Once their investigation is complete, the results will be presented to the Hancock County District Attorney’s Office.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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