Miguel Garcia at his arraignment Tuesday in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court, where he pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and other charges related to a fatal crash last year in Bar Harbor. ISLANDER PHOTO BY MARK GOOD

Fatal crash driver pleads ‘not guilty’

ELLSWORTH — The Bangor man charged with manslaughter for a fatal crash in Bar Harbor last year pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court.

Miguel Garcia, 41, was the driver of a box truck owned by Builders Installed Products of Hermon that veered off Route 3 on Sept. 15, 2015, and into a scenic turnout where it struck a car owned by Roger Beghtol of Hendersonville, N.C. The impact pushed the car into Beghtol, who was standing outside. Beghtol died from injuries he sustained in the accident.

Garcia was indicted April 7 by a Hancock County grand jury on single counts of manslaughter, aggravated criminal operating while under the influence, aggravated assault and reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon.

Garcia later was charged with the civil violation of causing the death of a person while committing a traffic infraction. On Tuesday, given the choice by Justice Michael Roberts of admitting or denying the infraction, Garcia chose the latter.

Garcia appeared in court without legal representation. He did seek the advice of an attorney of the day before entering his plea. He later told Roberts that he either would apply for a court-appointed attorney or retain counsel on his own. He remains free on $7,500 bail.

Following his April indictment, an arrest warrant was issued for Garcia. He was arrested May 4 by Bangor police after officers spotted him riding in a vehicle on Sunny Hollow Drive. Garcia is familiar to Bangor police, and officers stopped the vehicle knowing there was a warrant for his arrest, police said at the time.

Garcia allegedly was in possession of prescription pills at the time of his arrest, and Bangor police charged him with unlawful possession of scheduled drugs.

Blood tests taken after the Sept. 15 crash showed that Garcia had five different drugs in his system and had recently taken heroin, according to the district attorney’s office.

Manslaughter is a Class A crime punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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