Manslaughter charge dismissed

South Thomaston woman sentenced for fatal crash that killed St. George man

Posted:  Sunday, April 15, 2018 - 9:30pm

ROCKLAND — The state and attorney for the South Thomaston woman who was arrested for manslaughter in connection with a May 2017 fatal crash in South Thomaston that killed Zachary Elwell, 21, of St. George, reached an agreement that she will serve no more than one year in jail. 

Kelsey Campbell, 20, pleaded no contest before Justice Bruce Mallonee April 12 in Knox County Unified Court to the charges of aggravated criminal operating under the influence and operating beyond license condition or restriction. The charge of manslaughter was dismissed. 

Campbell will be sentenced to seven years in prison with all but one year suspended and three years of probation if she follows the terms of the agreement for the next year. 

She will not be formally sentenced for one year and was also ordered to immediately surrender her motor vehicle license.

A no contest plea bargain means that the defendant does not want to admit guilt, but accepts the sentence recommended by the prosecutor for not contesting the charge, which is often reduced to a lesser crime.

The terms of the agreement for the next year include that Campbell cannot commit another crime, use alcohol or take drugs, and undergo counseling for substance abuse.

If Campbell meets the terms, then she will be sentenced to seven years in prison with a suspended sentence of one year in jail, pay a $2,100 fine and lose her license for 10 years for the aggravated criminal operating under the influence charge. She will serve a concurrent sentence of six months for the operating beyond license condition or restriction charge.

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, 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

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