AUGUSTA — When Christopher J. Corliss crossed the centerline on U.S. 202 in Manchester to hit a box truck head-on in 2014, he was trying to commit suicide, a prosecutor said at a court hearing on Monday.

Corliss, 38, of Augusta pleaded guilty to two crimes related to that crash and entered the Co-Occurring Disorders and Veterans Court, a program established for people with mental health and substance abuse problems.

If Corliss fulfills his obligations in that court, he can avoid jail time and two felony convictions.

Corliss had been indicted on charges of aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon, a vehicle, as well as reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and aggravated criminal mischief, all in connection with the Dec. 10, 2014, crash.

On Monday at the Capital Judicial Center, Corliss pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault charge and the aggravated criminal mischief charge.

Justice Nancy Mills accepted the pleas, but did not impose a sentence.

She noted that an agreement indicates that if Corliss successfully completes the program, which includes a year or more of regular hearings in court, random testing and bail checks, he could withdraw those pleas and instead plead guilty to assault and criminal mischief. Convictions on those misdemeanors then would result in two consecutive 364-day sentences, all suspended, each carrying one year of probation.

The intent, Mills said, was to have Corliss on probation for two years.

If Corliss fails to meet the requirements, she told him he could be sentenced by any judge on the guilty pleas on the felony charges, which carry 10-year and five-year maximum prison terms.

Conditions of Corliss’ probation include bans on alcohol, illegal drugs, firearms or dangerous weapons and operation of a motor vehicle.

Corliss was represented at the hearing by attorney Walter McKee.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney David Spencer, said the crash that occurred about 2:35 p.m. that day was witnessed by an on-duty state trooper driving several cars behind the box truck.

Spencer told the judge he expected that Trooper Bernard Campbell would testify that he was eastbound on Route 202 when he saw a westbound silver, four-door sedan cross the center line and drive directly into the path of the truck.

He said Campbell pulled up immediately next to Corliss’ vehicle and saw that he was first slumped over and then trying to get his legs out from under the dashboard where they were trapped.

Corliss told the trooper he was attempting to kill himself and intentionally struck the truck, Spencer said, adding that Corliss would not say why.

Spencer told the judge that Chris Polley of Guilford, the man driving the Ryder rental truck, recently said that it appeared to him the car was accelerating as it came into the front of his truck.

Polley suffered foot and rib injuries, the latter of which kept him from work for weeks, Spencer said.

The owner of the rental truck reported the vehicle had “many thousands of dollars damage,” Spencer said, adding that both men were interested in getting restitution. However, Spencer said he was reluctant to seek restitution where the ability to pay is questionable, particularly in cases where defendants are dealing with mental health and disability issues.

Both he and McKee said insurance claims resulting from the crash have yet to be resolved.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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