AUGUSTA — The widower of a woman killed in 2014 Monmouth crash has filed a lawsuit seeking damages from both drivers involved: the woman serving a prison term in connection with the crash and his sister-in-law, who was driving his late wife.

John Fortier, of Mount Vernon, acting also on behalf of the estate of his late wife, Joan Fortier, filed the complaint in Kennebec County Superior Court against Alyssa D. Marcellino, of Winthrop, and Gene L. Potter, of Mount Vernon.

Fortier accuses Marcellino and Potter of causing the wrongful death as well as pain and suffering of Joan Fortier. The civil complaint says both Marcellino and Potter were negligent in operating their motor vehicles on March 6, 2014, the day of the crash.

It also says Marcellino was driving without a license and the vehicle was unregistered and uninsured.

Fortier’s attorney, Benjamin Gideon, said a number of insurance policies are involved; however, none was purchased by Marcellino.

He said Potter had a policy on her vehicle, Fortier had a policy as well, and both women had uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which kicks in when a third party does not have coverage.


“The hope is that through the various claims, we’ll be able to be able to recover something for our client,” Gideon said in an interview Tuesday. “We filed a case to try to move the process forward and try to expedite the sorting of it out.”

The crash occurred around 7:30 a.m. as Potter and Fortier, in a 2006 Hyundai Elantra, were headed west on U.S. Route 202. Marcellino, driving a 1999 Mercury Mountaineer, was headed east, Monmouth police Chief Kevin Mulherin said at the time of the crash.

The Mercury drifted into the westbound lane in front of the Hyundai, police said. Potter, then 70, swerved into the eastbound lane to avoid the crash as Marcellino corrected and swerved back into the eastbound lane, police said.

The vehicles hit head-on. Joan Fortier, 67, a passenger in Potter’s vehicle, died at the scene. She was Potter’s sister.

Marcellino, now 24, was served notice of the lawsuit March 7 at the Southern Maine Re-Entry Center in Alfred, where she is serving an initial unsuspended 32 months of a six-year prison term for offenses related to the crash as well as other crimes. Her release date, according to state records, is in late August, and she will be on probation for five years.

She pleaded guilty on Aug. 3, 2015, to causing a death while her license was suspended or revoked and to causing serious bodily injury while her license was suspended or revoked. The latter charge was related to Potter’s injuries.


In a response filed Monday with the court, Marcellino asks for a delay in the civil lawsuit proceedings and notes her release date.

“Postponing any proceedings will allow me to be present at any future court dates and also allow me to get representation,” she wrote to the court clerk. She also confirmed she was the driver in the crash, yet denied negligence.

John Fortier is seeking damages, including funeral and medical expenses as well as economic and other losses, including loss of society and companionship as well as punitive damages.

The lawsuit says Potter drove her vehicle into the oncoming lane and struck Marcellino in Marcellino’s lane of travel.

In Potter’s response to the lawsuit, John R. Veilleux, an attorney for Potter’s insurance company, says the Potter is not liable for damages because they were “caused by new and independent conduct … including negligence of third parties.”

It also says, “Defendant Potter’s actions/reactions to co-defendant’s negligent operation of her vehicle into her lane were reasonable and protected by the ’emergency’ doctrine.”


Veilleux, on Potter’s behalf, also filed a cross-claim against Marcellino and said Marcellino should be required to contribute if Potter is found liable.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

Twitter: @betadams

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