Randall Junior Weddle, the truck driver facing double manslaughter charges in connection with a five-vehicle crash in Washington on March 18, was intoxicated and speeding at the time of the accident, according to an investigator’s affidavit.

Weddle, 54, of Greenville, Tennessee, was indicted April 29 by a grand jury in Knox County, but it was not made public until his arrest Friday in Russell County, Virginia. In that indictment, he is charged with two counts of manslaughter and two counts of aggravated criminal operating under the influence.

The crash on Route 17 killed two people — Paul Fowles, 74, of Owls Head, and Christina Torres-York, 45, of Warren — who were each heading east and driving separate vehicles. Another driver was hurt, and a fifth driver escaped injury by taking evasive action and heading into a field, where her car was hit by another vehicle.

Weddle, who was hauling lumber and driving west in a tractor-trailer truck, strayed into oncoming traffic and rolled over on Route 17, strewing lumber along the side of the road, according to the Knox County Sheriff’s Department.

Weddle was trapped in the cab of his overturned truck, and after he was freed was taken by LifeFlight to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, where he was treated and released.

The affidavit by Deputy Paul Spear, filed in Knox County Superior Court, says a blood sample taken from Weddle in an ambulance showed a blood alcohol content of 0.09 percent, just over the 0.08 percent legal limit for adults in Maine. The tests also showed evidence of hydrocodone, a narcotic, in Weddle’s blood at “a level consistent with recent use,” the affidavit says.


Several people at the scene also said they smelled intoxicants on Weddle’s breath.

Also, witnesses to the crash said that the truck was going faster than 60 mph prior to the crash. A commercial vehicle inspector found that the tractor-trailer “was traveling at approximately 73 miles per hour at the beginning of the crash event. Immediately before that, he was driving as much as 81 miles per hour.” An accident reconstructionist with the Maine State Police calculated the vehicle’s speed at 69.4 mph.

Weddle told investigators that he had come from Tennessee, made a delivery in Massachusetts, and then picked up lumber to bring back to Tennessee.

“He said he had been feeling ill. He said he took several medications, including Lortab (acetaminophen and hydrocodone),” Spear wrote.

Weddle remains in the custody of the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority in a facility in Abingdon, Virginia.

A Knox County court clerk said Weddle would be arraigned on the manslaughter and drunken driving charges once he reaches Maine. An indictment is not a determination of guilt, but it indicates that there is enough evidence to proceed with formal charges and a trial.


Bail on the arrest warrant in Maine was set at $100,000. Conditions of that bail prohibit Weddle from driving, from possessing alcohol and illegal drugs and from having contact with other people involved in the crash and the families of the two people killed.

Each of the manslaughter charges carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. The two charges of aggravated criminal operating under the influence carry maximum jail terms of 10 years in prison.

Law enforcement records showed that Weddle’s driver’s license was revoked in Virginia, suspended in Louisiana, but that he held an active driver’s license from Tennessee, according to Spear’s affidavit.

Public records show Weddle was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence in 1994 in Virginia. Later, in Russell County Circuit Court there, he was fined $400 in connection with the offense. In 1996, he pleaded guilty to assault and battery and was sentenced to a month behind bars with the remainder of the six-month term suspended. At that time, Weddle was living in Lebanon, Virginia.

An obituary for Fowles said he was a stone mason and carpenter originally from Rockland and that several of his grown children live in Weeks Mills and the Union area. At the time of the crash, Torres-York was on supervised release after being convicted in federal court of embezzling from Camden National Bank, where she had worked for nearly 20 years. She was ordered to repay $625,000. Torres-York was born in Connecticut and lived in Maine with her husband and children.

Betty Adams — 621-5631


Twitter: @betadams

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