AUGUSTA — A judge has refused to suppress blood test results and other evidence relating to the driver in a May 12, 2017, single-vehicle crash in Mount Vernon that killed one passenger and seriously injured another.

Tyler Goucher, 23, of Wayne, is scheduled for trial next month on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and two counts of aggravated criminal operating under the influence stemming from that night.

Ethan Russell, 19, of Wayne, died at the scene, and Richard Hall Jr., now 22, also of Wayne, was airlifted to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston for treatment.

Goucher, who pleaded not guilty to all charges at his arraignment, has been free on bail with conditions that prohibit him from using alcohol, and from contact with Hall and with Russell’s and Hall’s families.

His attorney, Darrick Banda, had filed pretrial motions seeking to suppress the results of two search warrants involving medical records and tests on Goucher’s blood, as well as Goucher’s consent to draw blood while he was in an ambulance at the crash scene.

Justice William Stokes denied all the defense motions in a 29-page decision filed Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center.

The decision followed oral arguments Sept. 26 where the prosecutors, Deputy District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh and Assistant District Attorney Tracy DeVoll, argued that the test results and other material could be used properly at trial. They called seven witnesses, including several involved with the testing at the hospital and at the state’s Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory.

Banda called John Godfrey, an analytical chemist with CG Labs in Pembroke, New Hampshire, to testify on behalf of the defense. Banda questioned Central Maine Medical Center’s processing methods as well as the chain of custody of the blood samples.

At that hearing, five people sat in the public area on one side of the courtroom, and 11 other people sat behind Goucher, who was at the defense table with his attorney.

In his written decision, Stokes said he listened several times to an audio recording made by Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sgt. Frank Hatch of Goucher giving spoken consent to a blood draw in the ambulance that night. Stokes said he found that Goucher was “talkative, cooperative and assertive.”

Stokes also noted that Goucher continually asked about the condition of his friends, but was not told one had died.

When investigators reached the crash site on North Road, they found that all three occupants had been ejected from the 2008 Chevrolet Silverado pickup. Police also reported finding an 18-pack of beer under the truck.

Goucher told police the three men had been drinking at a local restaurant and he “was the most sober” so he was the driver that night, according to an arrest warrant affidavit for Goucher, filed by Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office Deputy K. Scott Mills. Goucher said he had three drinks that night: two beers and a Grateful Dead, an alcoholic drink with four liquors and a liqueur.

Mills described the crash scene, saying he 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.”

Goucher told investigators “he was speeding trying to catch up with other friends that left in a different vehicle.”

According to Mills’ affidavit, two blood samples taken from Goucher — one at 11:01 p.m. at the scene and a second at the hospital at 12:12 a.m. May 13, 2017, — 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.

Jury selection is set for Nov. 8 and 9, and the trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 26 at the Capital Judicial Center.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.