AUGUSTA — A city man was convicted Thursday on a charge of manslaughter in connection with the death last year of a pedestrian in a crosswalk on Northern Avenue in Augusta.

The trial of Andrew P. Bilodeau, 56, of Augusta, began Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center, and jurors returned a verdict after deliberating about four hours Thursday. Bilodeau remains free on appeal.

Bilodeau was at the wheel of his maroon Ford Taurus on Nov. 18, 2017, when the car struck and killed 81-year-old Emile Morin, of Augusta. Morin, his wife and another woman had just left a bean supper that was held after Mass at St. Augustine Church.

Morin was in the crosswalk on Northern Avenue at Kendall Street.

On police recordings from that night, which were played for the jury, Bilodeau says he saw someone in the first section of the crosswalk and thought he had enough time to go around him.

“I thought he threw something in my windshield. I guess that’s when I hit him,” Bilodeau says. “I thought it was something that was coming through my windshield. Is he going to make it?”

Assistant District Attorney Frayla Tarpinian said Bilodeau’s actions that night were reckless or criminally negligent, a “gross deviation” from what a reasonable person would do. In her closing argument, she told jurors that Bilodeau testified he needs hand brakes to drive his car safely — which the Taurus did not have — and previously had struck objects.

“Reasonable and prudent people apply their brakes,” Tarpinian said.

Bilodeau said he swerved rather than braked after seeing someone in the crosswalk.

“I swerved to avoid hitting him because that’s my natural reaction,” he testified Wednesday. “I saw, well he was dressed in black, and it looked like a stick figure to me.”

Bilodeau’s testimony was read back to the jurors on Thursday at their request after about two and a half hours of deliberations.

In laying out a written series of “Facts” which were displayed on a courtroom monitor, Tarpinian said Bilodeau’s physical impairments make it difficult for him to see, to operate his vehicle and to stop his vehicle.

Defense attorney Kevin Sullivan said, “He was simply driving down the road and an accident happened, an unfortunate accident.”

A state police trooper who reconstructed the accident testified that he calculated Bilodeau was traveling 18 to 22 miles per hour in the 25-mph zone.

Sullivan said Bilodeau was properly licensed, and that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles was aware of Bilodeau’s physical and vision impairments. Bilodeau was born with cerebral palsy, and he uses metal crutches when he walks and a wheelchair at other times.

Bilodeau also told jurors that he has no depth perception because he was born with a cataract in one eye, and that he tries to avoid driving after dark. On the night of the fatal accident, Bilodeau testified, he was driving home from a supper at a church on Green Street in Augusta.

“I think a reasonable person would expect that if they’re licensed by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, it’s safe for them to drive,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan told jurors in his closing argument that Morin had made a mistake.

“He walked out in front of a car that didn’t have enough time to stop,” he said.

Jurors were driven to view the scene of the accident on Wednesday afternoon.

They also were told that Bilodeau’s blood alcohol test results showed he had no alcohol and no illegal drugs in his system that night, and that the medical examiner had concluded that Morin’s death was the result of blunt force trauma caused by a motor vehicle hitting him.

Bilodeau kept his hands over his face for much of the time Thursday as attorneys gave their closing arguments and the judge read instructions to the jury. At one point when the courtroom was almost empty, Bilodeau sobbed aloud.

A number of Morin’s friends and relatives have attended the trial, and about two dozen people watched closing arguments.

After the verdict, Tarpinian said Morin’s family asked her to say that they were satisfied with the outcome of the trial.

“They lost somebody they loved very, very much,” she said.

Tarpinian said she believed the jurors considered all the facts as well as the defendant’s testimony in reaching the verdict.

“I think they did justice today,” she said.

Sullivan declined to comment immediately afterward.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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