Two women and a 1-year-old girl were killed May 20, 2021, when struck by a vehicle along this stretch of Cony Road in Augusta. More than year later, the fine the driver was ordered to pay as part of his sentence for committing a motor vehicle violation resulting in death will be used to pay for a memorial. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

AUGUSTA — The Chelsea driver behind the wheel when he fell asleep and struck and killed three pedestrians walking on Cony Road in 2021 has paid $5,000 for the city of Augusta to create a memorial on the road where the tragedy took place.

The payment by Robert Santerre was part of his sentence on three counts of the civil charge of committing a motor vehicle violation resulting in death. In an agreement worked out by the Kennebec and Somerset County District Attorney’s Office and approved by Superior Court Justice Deborah Cashman, Santerre agreed to pay the city of Augusta $5,000 to install a monument to the victims, 1-year-old Vada-Leigh Peaslee, her grandmother Barbara Maxim-Hendsbee, 69 and their friend Rosalyn Jean, 62, at the crash site.

The three were killed while walking alongside Cony Road on May 20, 2021.

The monument is expected to be a plaque in a stone carving which will be placed along a sidewalk which city officials said will be built on that section of Cony Road.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said Santerre has paid the money and she turned it over to the city of Augusta on Thursday.

“This comes from tragedy,” Maloney told city councilors. “This comes from May 20, 2021, on 269 Cony Road, a car driven by Robert Santerre crashed into three people and took the lives of all three people. Barbara Maxim-Hendsbee, Rosalyn Jean and baby Vada Peaslee.”


Maloney said family members of the victims would like to have a memorial on the road and were supportive of the money Santerre would otherwise pay in fines to the court instead being used to install a memorial.

City councilors voted unanimously to accept the money at their Thursday meeting.

Ward 4 Councilor Eric Lind said he remembers learning of the tragic crash and knows the families involved.

“I just hope this centers the community’s emotions” in the wake of the crash, he said.

At-Large Councilor Courtney Gary-Allen thanked the officials involved “with putting this together for the families of the lost. And thank District Attorney Maeghan Maloney for being so thoughtful in the way she put together this settlement.”

Family members of the victims said, before Santerre admitted to the civil charges, that the consequences he was facing were far too inadequate for killing three people, and argued he should have been charged with manslaughter.

However Maloney said Santerre’s actions did not rise to the level of manslaughter. She told city councilors he did not know he could fall asleep at the wheel so suddenly. She said he crossed the double yellow lines in the middle of the road and was speeding at the time of the crash.

Santerre admitted to the three counts of the civil infraction of committing a motor vehicle violation resulting in death and was sentenced to pay the $5,000 and to lose his license for nine years.

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