A Somerville man has been charged with a civil infraction in connection with a crash that resulted in the death of a Windsor physician who was riding her bicycle.

It’s among just a handful of publicized cases in Maine relying on a law passed nearly a decade ago allowing for someone to be charged with “motor vehicle violation resulting in death,” even if no criminal behavior is involved.

James M. Mayo, 22, is scheduled to be at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta on Monday for an arraignment. Dr. Carol Eckert was struck Oct. 10, 2016, and died three days later in the hospital.

Investigators said Mayo was driving a pickup south on Wingood Road and said the sun was in his eyes. He stopped because he heard a noise and thought he had hit someone.

Mayo told police at the time he saw a bicycle on the shoulder and a woman in the ditch.

A report by Sgt. Michael Dutil indicated that Mayo started chest compressions on the bicyclist, identified as Eckert by a wallet found nearby, while a passenger in his pickup called 911.


Eckert, who had been wearing a helmet, suffered head injuries and fractures and was unconscious when rescue personnel arrived.

Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney, whose office filed the complaint, said it took some time to decide what charge to file against Mayo, and ultimately the prosecutor decided against a criminal count of manslaughter.

“Dr. Carol Eckert was very loved and very valued in the community, and (Assistant District Attorney Frayla Tarpinian) wanted to have a full understanding of what happened to make a decision between manslaughter and a traffic infraction,” Maloney said. “It was hard to decide that this was going to be a traffic infraction rather than a crime.”

Maloney noted that Mayo pulled over after the crash, attempted to aid the victim, and consented to a blood draw and was upset about what happened.

She also said that as for the traffic infraction, Mayo was driving “slightly over the speed limit” — no precise speed was specified — and didn’t give the bicyclist 3 feet of space. Maine “Rules of the Road” say a motor vehicle driver passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction must leave a minimum distance of 3 feet between the two.

Maloney said prosecutors talked with Eckert’s husband as well about the decision.


“He expressed that his biggest concern is James Mayo driving,” Maloney said. “We’re going to look for a long license suspension.”

A state statute says, “A person commits the civil violation of motor vehicle violation resulting in death if that person, while operating a motor vehicle and committing a traffic infraction, causes the death of another person.”

The penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, some of which can be satisfied by community service work; and a license suspension of 14 days to four years.

The civil infraction has been charged in a handful of publicized cases across the state since its adoption in 2009.

In January 2017, a Lewiston woman was charged with that infraction in connection with a November 2016 accident that killed a 13-year-old boy who was in a crosswalk on his way to school. After a trial, Laurie Young was fined $3,000 and her license was suspended for three years, according to published reports.

No attorney is listed for Mayo in the file at the Capital Judicial Center, and the district attorney said no attorney has notified the office regarding Mayo. No phone number for Mayo is listed.


A year after the crash, some 70 bicyclists did a “Share the Road With Carol” ride in her memory, placing a white “ghost bike” at the site of the crash. The event was organized by volunteers from Health Reach Community Health Center, where she worked; the Residency Program at MaineGeneral Health; and Eckert’s family.

Betty Adams — 621-5631


Twitter: @betadams

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