Attorney for woman charged with manslaughter files motions to supress blood test, statements

Posted:  Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 2:30pm
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ROCKLAND — The attorney for a 19-year-old South Thomaston woman charged with manslaughter in connection with a May 2017 car crash that killed a male passenger in the car she was driving is asking for a blood test and statements made to police to be excluded as evidence from any possible trial.

Kelsey Campbell was arrested Jan. 9 and charged with manslaughter, aggravated criminal operating under the influence and operating beyond license condition or restriction. Zachary Elwell, 21, of St. George, died in the May 25 crash in South Thomaston. 

Defense Attorney Laura Shaw, of Camden, filed the motions in Knox County Unified Court March 1. In the motion, Shaw states that Campbell did not consent to the blood test and law enforcement officers lacked probable cause to require the woman to submit to a blood draw and this violated her constitutional rights. 

Shaw further argues that her client was not advised of her Miranda rights by police before they questioned her at the scene of the crash and at the hospital. The motion states that police immediately treated the scene as a homicide investigation and the defendant was the subject of this investigation. 

The definition of the Miranda law is that anyone in police custody must be told by police that they have the right to remain silent, anything they say can and will be used against them in a court of law and they have the right to an attorney. 

A date has not yet been scheduled for the hearing on the motions in Knox County Unified Court. 

According to the affidavit filed in court by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a motor vehicle accident on Route 131 (St. George Road) involving a single vehicle, allegedly driven by Campbell. Police reported that the vehicle, a 2004 Subaru Outback, went off the road, struck a rock wall and several trees and then landed on its roof.

Elwell was thrown from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene from head trauma.

A blood test was administered soon after the crash and Campbell allegedly had a blood alcohol level of 0.21, more than twice the legal limit, the affidavit states.

Police interviewed two witnesses who said that prior to the crash, the Subaru Outback passed them on Route 131 while traveling at a high rate of speed, according to court documents.

One witness said that after the vehicle passed him, he saw smoke coming from the side of the road and discovered the crash.

Following the crash, Campbell and another passenger were treated for minor injuries at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport.

Campbell made her initial court appearance Jan. 10 in Knox County Unified Court. Judge Susan Sparaco set Campbell’s bail at $2,500 cash at the hearing. 

She did not enter a plea at the hearing because the two charges of manslaughter and criminal operating under the influence are felonies and the case will be presented to the grand jury.

Shaw spoke on behalf of her client in an email dated Jan. 15: “Kelsey Campbell is a smart, young girl with a bright future ahead of her. She is an adored member of the community, a college student, a hard worker, and a good person. She is not a criminal. What happened last May was not a crime, but a terrible tragedy, and Kelsey herself suffered a huge loss on that day. We plan to move forward aggressively, demonstrating Kelsey’s innocence of the charges brought against her at each stage of the proceedings.” 

Reach Sarah Shepherd at news@penbaypilot.com

Related story:

http://www.penbaypilot.com/article/st-george-man-killed-south-thomaston-crash/86820