Case headed to Knox County grand jury

Woman charged with manslaughter, OUI in fatal South Thomaston crash

Posted:  Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 3:00pm

ROCKLAND — A 19-year-old South Thomaston woman has been charged with manslaughter in connection with a May 2017 car crash that killed a male passenger in the car she was driving.  

Kelsey Campbell, 19, was arrested Jan. 9 and charged with manslaughter, aggravated criminal operating under the influence and operating beyond license condition or restriction. A warrant for Campbell’s arrest was obtained by Detective Justin Twitchell of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

Zachary Elwell, 21, of St. George, died in the May 25 crash in South Thomaston.

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. 

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.

Defense attorney Laura 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.” 

Campbell will appear in court again for a dispositional conference on March 1.

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