AUGUSTA — In 1988, Timothy J. Sharkey pleaded guilty to criminal homicide for being behind the wheel in a fatal crash on Old Brunswick Road in Bath.

Charges of drunken driving and driving to endanger were dismissed in exchange for that plea.

On Thursday, Sharkey, 45, of Wayne, pleaded guilty in Kennebec County Superior Court to aggravated criminal operating under the influence for a drunken driving crash that occurred Jan.17 in Winthrop and will spend nine months in jail. Sharkey was the only one in his vehicle.

“What has changed since 1988 as far as your habits of drinking and driving?” asked Justice Donald Marden. “Given a history of a conviction for criminal homicide for driving while drinking, what possessed you to go out there and blow a .15?”

“It was a very bad judgment call on my part,” Sharkey told him. “It’s the company I was keeping at the time. I thought I had grown up some and learned my lesson.”

Sharkey’s blood alcohol content after the 1988 crash tested as 0.10, the legal limit at the time, said District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau, who was then the assistant district attorney prosecuting the case in Sagadahoc County. The legal limit for adult drivers in Maine is now 0.08.

Robert M. Kulow was 21 when he died in that Aug. 28, 1987, accident, and two other passengers, both women, were injured. Speed and alcohol were factors in the crash, Rushlau said. Sharkey was convicted the following May.

Sharkey was sentenced to four years in jail for the fatal crash, with all but six months and one day suspended and three years’ probation.

“I recommended five years, with all but two years suspended,” Rushlau said.

The sentence for this year’s crash, in which Sharkey drove a black GMC pickup truck off Sturtevant Hill Road and struck a tree at 3:40 p.m. in the afternoon, was seven years in jail, with all but nine months suspended and two years’ probation. Sharkey told Winthrop police he had had a couple of beers before the crash and said the road was slippery.

Sharkey was also fined $2,100 fine and his driver’s license was suspended for 10 years.

The sentence was jointly recommended by the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Paul Rucha, and Sharkey’s attorney, Scott Hess.

“Frankly I think nine months is pretty lenient for a person with your record,” Marden told Sharkey.

Sharkey, who was not under arrest, was ordered to report to the Kennebec County jail at 6 p.m. Sept. 4, to begin serving the sentence.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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