AUGUSTA — Almost 18 months ago, Alyssa Danielle Marcellino was driving east about 7:30 a.m. on U.S. Route 202 in Monmouth. Her 1999 Mercury Mountaineer drifted into the westbound lane in front of a 2006 Hyundai Elantra.

Gene Potter, the Hyundai driver, swerved into the eastbound lane to avoid the other vehicle, but Marcellino corrected too, swerving back into the same lane.

The two vehicles hit head-on, killing Potter’s passenger, her sister and neighbor, Joan Fortier, 67, of Mount Vernon.

On Wednesday, Marcellino was sentenced to six years imposed in the form of a split sentence, with 32 months to be served initially and the remaining time suspended. She was placed on probation for five years.

“I want her on probation for essentially the rest of (her) 20s,” Justice William Stokes said during the hearing at the Capital Judicial Center.

Marcellino, now 24, of Winthrop, had pleaded guilty Aug. 3 to a number of charges, including causing a death while her license was suspended or revoked, an offense that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. She also pleaded guilty to causing serious bodily injury while her license was suspended or revoked, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. That charge related to the injuries Potter, then 70, suffered in the March 6, 2014, crash. At the time, both sides of the roadway were lined by snowbanks.

Both the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh, and the defense attorney, Sherry Tash, said Marcellino never held a valid driver’s license. Her right to have a driver’s license had been suspended because of prior convictions for driving without a license.

On Wednesday morning, at the hearing watched by more than 30 people, Stokes sentenced Marcellino for her actions in the fatal crash and for later offenses, including a scheme to steal checks and forge them and get other people to cash them.

During the hearing, Marcellino sat at a table next to her defense attorney, staring straight ahead at the judge.

Marcellino read a series of letters of apology to Fortier’s family, to Potter and her family, as well as to the people from whom she stole checks and the people she had cash them.

“I lost myself to drugs, which is, of course, no excuse,” she said.

She said she stole money to support her addiction and that it took being arrested to force her to become sober. At one point, Marcellino said, “I have done the unspeakable” and added that she wanted to do everything she could to make amends.

To Potter, who was in the courtroom, Marcellino said, “I had no right to be on the road that day.”

Potter declined a request to be interviewed on Wednesday.

Marcellino told Fortier’s family, “I wish every day I could bring her back.”

She told the judge that she has a recurring nightmare about the fatal crash.

“I could not close my eyes without being behind the wheel of that car again,” she said.

Her voice broke, and she paused a number of times, talking as she cried.

“I regret every single day the decision I made that caused so much pain,” Marcellino said, quoting several passages from the Bible. She said she wanted to do a better job raising her son. “I am determined to live a clean and respectable life,” she said.

“Your phrase was ‘addiction is messy,’ and it sure is,” Stokes told her. “It’s caused a lot of grief for you and for an innocent family.”

He urged her to explain to the community what happened to her and possibly help other young people avoid the path she took.

At the start of the hearing, Stokes said he had read letters and emails from Fortier’s daughter and granddaughter and from Potter as well as Potter’s relatives. He read “gratitude letters” from Marcellino and letters in support of Marcellino, including one from her twin sister.

Stokes also noted that as a result of the conviction for causing a death while her license was suspended or revoked, the secretary of state will suspend her driver’s license for 10 years.

Cavanaugh urged the judge to impose a split sentence of 12 years, with an initial four years served and three years’ probation. He also suggested the possibility of consecutive suspended sentences to get a longer period of probation, which Stokes eventually imposed.

Tash urged the judge to impose a split five-year sentence, with an initial 26 months to be served and the remainder suspended, and a three-year probationary period.

She said the fatal crash was an accident with tragic consequences.

“She went to get her cigarettes on the dashboard,” Tash said. “She looked up and saw something kind of white on the road by her tire and she took evasive action.”

On Wednesday, Cavanaugh told Stokes that Marcellino had spent time in a youth center.

“She was a problem child well before this collision,” Cavanaugh said.

Marcellino also pleaded guilty to two counts of operating after suspension, one count relating to the crash and a second count relating to a motor vehicle accident March 30, 2014, when her vehicle hydroplaned and went off Interstate 95 in Sidney. Stokes said the fact that she was driving again without a license was particularly troubling.

Marcellino pleaded guilty to two charges of theft and one of receiving stolen property, all relating to a check-cashing scheme that operated March 19 to May 17, 2014, in Augusta and involved a total of $6,415.65.

She has been held in jail on various charges for the past 17 months and will receive credit for that time served.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams