KITTERY — Town officials will investigate whether they followed their own policy by checking the criminal background and driving history of a 21-year-old camp counselor who crashed a town-owned van full of children Friday.

John E. Guy, who had a lengthy history of driving infractions and a minor criminal record, will have his license suspended in Maine because police in New Hampshire, where the wreck took place, reported to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles that Guy suffered a medical emergency before the wreck and recommended that he not drive.

The suspension will take effect within days after Guy is notified officially of the decision.

“It is rare to do an immediate suspension,” said Kristen Muszynski, spokeswoman for the Maine Secretary of State’s office, which oversees the BMV. “Normally when we hear about it, when we get this sort of adverse report, we give the person a 60-day window to get back to us with a follow-up.”

In addition to Guy, another counselor and 11 children were on the bus when it crashed. Some were injured, and they were treated and released at nearby hospitals. One child with serious injuries was flown to Boston Children’s Hospital, but everyone involved in the wreck had been released from the hospital as of Sunday, Kittery officials said.

Anyone can file a report if they believe someone’s ability to drive has been compromised, and the BMV has wide latitude to suspend someone’s license and request a driver undergo medical testing or treatment before the suspension is lifted. In this case, the report of the medical event carries more weight because it came from police, Muszynski said.

New Hampshire police have declined to identify the nature of the medical problem Guy experienced before he veered from Interstate 95 and struck a large tree, destroying the front of the 2010 GMC Savana shuttle bus.

Guy has not responded to requests for comment, and no one answered the door at the family’s Kittery home Monday. He was placed on leave from the town after the crash.

The van was headed to a water park and was following two other buses when it veered off the highway, slamming into the tree line in Greenland, N.H. The front of the vehicle was crushed.

Police are analyzing the contents of the van’s “black box” computer, which records vital information about the conditions immediately before, during and after the crash.

In an impromptu news conference outside Kittery Town Hall on Monday, Town Manager Kendra Amaral said she intends to find out if all of the town’s hiring policies were followed, and if any policies or procedures need to be updated in light of the crash.

“We’re doing this to understand what all the circumstances were that led to this event, everything from hiring practices as it relates to all our camp counselors and this particular driver,” Amaral said.

Amaral said town policy requires all prospective employees to undergo a criminal background check, and if the position requires driving or transporting children, the town also should conduct a driver records check. Both are available to the public electronically for a small fee.

But details of Guy’s hiring process remain unclear. While Amaral said the town’s human resources department typically performs the criminal background checks on town employees, some of those duties were handled by the Kittery Community Center staff running the summer program who hired him this year as a seasonal counselor.

Guy has twice been convicted of driving to endanger – apparently through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles administrative process – first in August 2013, when he was 16 years old and less than a month after his license was issued. The second conviction came in August 2016.

His record also includes two speeding tickets – one for driving 45 mph in a 35-mph zone and another for driving 62 mph in a 40-mph zone – and three convictions for driving with a suspended license, along with two instances of failing to show a valid inspection sticker.

Guy also has two criminal convictions in Maine for violating the conditions of his release. Each time he pleaded guilty, first in March 2018 and then again in May 2018. He was fined $200 each time, State Bureau of Identification records show.

The first time Guy violated the terms of his release was on Nov. 9, 2017, in South Portland, when he was found in possession of alcohol, court documents show.

The second incident was on Jan. 18, 2018, also in South Portland, when a police officer wrote Guy a civil citation for possessing a usable quantity of marijuana while between the age of 18 and 21. That charge was ultimately dismissed because Guy pleaded guilty to violating the conditions of his release.

There was no information available about what criminal charge originally led to Guy being placed on probation.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

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