AUGUSTA — When investigators reached a late night pickup truck crash in which all three occupants had been ejected, they found one person dead and two others hurt, as well as an 18-pack of beer under the truck.

Tyler J. Goucher, 21, of Wayne, told police the three men had been drinking at a local restaurant and he “was the most sober” so he was the driver the night of May 12 in Mount Vernon.

Last week Goucher was arrested on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and two counts of aggravated criminal operating under the influence — involving death to one person and serious injury to another — all in connection with the crash on North Road.

Ethan J. Russell, 19, of Wayne, died in the crash; and Richard Hall Jr., 21, of Mount Vernon, was injured, as was Goucher himself.

Goucher is free on $5,000 cash bail with conditions that prohibit him from contact with the Russell’s family and with Hall and his family, and from driving a motor vehicle. Those conditions were set by Justice Michaela Murphy, who authorized the arrest warrant June 21 at the Capital Judicial Center.

An arrest warrant affidavit for Goucher, filed by Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office Deputy K. Scott Mills, describes the crash scene. It says Mills saw “approximately 300 feet of skid marks on the North Road. The truck then went off the road on the opposite travel lane, rolled over, struck a tree and came to rest against a telephone pole.”


He says the occupants were ejected and the truck, a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado, had “catastrophic damage — the rear axle and pickup bed were no longer attached to the frame and the rest of the truck; all windows, including the windshield were broken. Parts of the truck were spread over a considerable distance along and beside the road.”

An 18-pack of Bud Light beer was “recovered from under the truck,” and the truck was towed and impounded.

Mills says Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Frank Hatch spoke to Goucher before he was taken to a hospital by ambulance. Goucher told Hatch the three had been drinking just before the crash, and that they were in his truck “and he was speeding trying to catch up with other friends that left in a different vehicle.”

An examination of the truck’s black box revealed a speed of 85 mph at the time of the crash, but “the speed would not have compensated for the oversized tires on the jacked-up truck.” The affidavit did not indicate what effect the larger tires would have on the speed calculation.

Two blood samples taken from Goucher — one at 11:01 p.m. and a second at the hospital at 12:12 a.m. May 13 — showed blood alcohol content of 0.217 percent, and 0.202 percent respectively. The results are about 2.5 times the 0.08 blood-alcohol limit for drivers over 21 in Maine.

No attorney is listed in the court’s file for Goucher, and a phone number for Goucher was not in service Tuesday.


Goucher is scheduled for an Aug. 14 initial appearance at the Capital Judicial Center on the charges. If he is indicted by a grand jury in the meantime, it is likely he will be arraigned on the charges.

In the days after the crash, hundreds of people posted comments on the Facebook pages of Russell’s parents, Nathan and Shanna, and his sister, Delaney. People from Maine and elsewhere across the country offered the family condolences, thoughts and prayers and comfort.

Nathan Russell posted several photos of his son on his Facebook page that showed his son holding a large fish, leaning against a waterfront tree and standing in front of a truck.

In public Facebook posts, Nathan Russell said he was in shock and disbelief and remains numb six weeks after his son’s death.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

Twitter: @betadams

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