FARMINGTON — The Rangeley man accused of drunken driving in connection with Tuesday’s fatal crash in Strong allegedly wanted to “show off how fast his truck could go,” police documents say.

Mark Garner, 24, of Rangeley, is charged with operating under the influence resulting in death, a class B felony. Garner was the driver of the GMC pickup truck that collided head-on with a Chevrolet pickup Tuesday night. Both trucks caught fire upon impact, and while Garner and his two passengers were able to escape their vehicle, the driver of the Chevrolet was unable to escape and died.

The Chevrolet pickup had a Wilton registration. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is waiting to release the name of the deceased driver until the Office of the State Medical Examiner confirms the driver’s identity using DNA testing. Sheriff Scott Nichols said his office has made contact with the family of the person believed to be the victim.

Garner was released from the Franklin County Jail on Thursday morning on $15,000 cash bail. He appeared in court Wednesday, where a judge set his bail conditions and filed a motion for appointment of counsel. Garner’s next court appearance has not been scheduled.

The night of the accident, Garner told police that “he drank too much to be driving,” and that “he was driving too fast and lost control of his vehicle,” according to a police affidavit filed with the court by Deputy Andrew Morgan, of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

One of the passengers in Garner’s truck told Morgan that Garner was driving 80 mph before the crash, but Garner told police “he was driving too fast, but did not know his speed,” the affidavit said.


Around 7:46 p.m. Tuesday, Garner was traveling north on Lambert Hill Road, heading toward Phillips, when he allegedly crossed the center line, colliding with the Chevrolet, which was moving south. Both vehicles became engulfed in flames upon impact.

When Morgan arrived at the scene, he said he “met two males and one female who were frantic and running for help,” the affidavit states.

All initial efforts to put out the fire and remove the driver of the Chevrolet were unsuccessful, Morgan wrote. Once the flames were extinguished, the Strong Fire Department extracted the body from the truck, according to a news release Nichols issued Tuesday.

Garner and his two passengers were taken from the scene by NorthStar Ambulance to Franklin Memorial Hospital. Garner was not injured in the crash. His two passengers were treated and released from the hospital Tuesday night.

Morgan interviewed the two passengers at the hospital. The female passenger said Garner had been drinking since roughly 5:30 p.m. Garner allegedly took a six-pack of beer to her house, she said, adding that she went to the store to buy another six-pack after Garner and the male passenger had finished the first one, according to the affidavit.

The woman said she drove Garner and the other passenger to Strong to pick up new tires for Garner’s truck. However, after they picked up the tires, the female said Garner decided to drive because she was “driving too slow,” according to the affidavit.


The male passenger told Morgan that “Garner wanted to show off how fast his truck could go, which was driving back to Phillips,” the affidavit states.

Garner was interviewed at the hospital and told Morgan that he drank about four to six beers but that “he did not feel impaired when driving.” Garner underwent a blood alcohol test at the hospital and was arrested.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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