AUGUSTA — A year and a day after a Wayne man pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in a drunken driving crash that killed one man and injured another, Tyler J. Goucher changed his plea.

Standing before Justice William Stokes at the Capital Judicial Center on Wednesday, Goucher pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter and a charge of aggravated criminal operating under the influence stemming from a fatal crash in May 2017 in Mount Vernon.

The remaining drunken driving charge and aggravated assault charge are expected to be dismissed at sentencing, which is scheduled for Nov. 28.

Goucher was indicted on Sept. 22, 2017, on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and two counts of aggravated criminal operating under the influence, each citing the injuries to the two passengers. The manslaughter charge is a Class A offense carrying a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

The May 12, 2017, crash on North Road in Mount Vernon killed 19-year-old Ethan J. Russell of Wayne and injured 21-year-old Richard J. Hall Jr. of Mount Vernon.

Before he accepted Goucher’s guilty plea, Stokes cautioned Goucher that his plea to felony charges would result in a variety of changes.


“You cannot own, purchase or possess a firearm for life,” Stokes said. “If you are found in possession of one, that’s a felony.”

The plea could also have an effect on his employment, ability to get a loan and, in some other states, affect his right to vote or serve on a jury.

Goucher said he understood.

A small group of people sat behind Goucher and watched the brief proceeding. A larger group gathered behind the prosecutor’s table and watched the plea in silence.

The prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Paul Cavenaugh, said the state has made a recommendation of the time to be served and probation.

Darrick Banda, the attorney who is representing Goucher, said some further discussions are anticipated on the length of the sentence; there is an agreement about probation.


Cavenaugh said no restitution is being sought.

Goucher also faces a lifetime suspension of his driver’s license from the Maine Secretary of State, Cavenaugh said, which is greater than the 10-year license suspension from the criminal OUI charge.

When investigators reached the scene of the late night crash, all three occupants of the Chevy Silverado pickup truck that Goucher had been driving had been ejected; one person was dead and the other two were injured. The truck had “catastrophic damage.” The rear axle and truck bed were no longer attached to the truck, all the windows were broken and debris from the truck littered the road.

At the time, 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.

Mills wrote that Goucher told another investigator that the three men 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.


According to the same affidavit, 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.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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