AUBURN — An Augusta man convicted of manslaughter stemming from a crash in Turner roughly a year ago that claimed the life of a Fayette woman was sentenced Monday to serve 5½ years in prison.

Jacob Diaz Screenshot from video

Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice Harold Stewart II said he had struggled to understand: “Who is Jacob Diaz?”

Was he the 24-year-old man who drove his pickup truck on the wrong side of Route 4 at more than 100 mph and smashed head-on into the car driven by 79-year-old Carol Ivers or was he the selfless, compassionate, protector and provider portrayed by his family.

In an agreement hammered out between prosecutors and the defense, Diaz would be sentenced to 17 years in prison for the manslaughter, a crime punishable by up to 30 years in prison. He would also be put on probation for a total of six years, after combining sentences of two different charges.

Stewart was tasked Monday with deciding how much of the 17-year sentence would be suspended and how much of that time Diaz would have to spend behind bars.

The opposing parties in the case had narrowed the range of time Diaz would be incarcerated to between four years and eight years.


After explaining his difficulty in reconciling the two personas of Jacob Diaz, Stewart settled on five years and six months to serve in prison, with 12 years suspended. Diaz may appeal his sentence.

He had pleaded guilty to manslaughter and two felony counts of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon. Diaz was indicted in April on five criminal charges, but prosecutors dismissed two.

If he were to violate the terms of his probation, which include not driving a motor vehicle, ATV or snowmobile, he could be ordered to serve some or all of the 12 years of the suspended sentence from his manslaughter conviction, plus five years of a suspended sentence from one of the charges of reckless conduct.

Ivers had just pulled onto Route 4 southbound in Turner with the aim of dropping off Christmas presents for a family member in Auburn when her 2016 Hyundai Sonata was struck by the 2006 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck driven by Diaz, who was passing several other vehicles at speeds over 100 mph, according to accident reconstruction experts.

The force of the impact sheered off the driver’s side tire from Ivers’ car and ripped the engine out from under the hood, Assistant District Attorney Patricia Mador said.

Ivers’ car was pushed back roughly 221 feet from the point of impact and spun six full revolutions, Mador said. The car’s engine traveled another 182 feet past the car. The tire that was severed from Ivers’ car traveled nearly 500 feet from the point of impact.


Jacob Diaz of Augusta appears Monday in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn where he was sentenced on a manslaughter conviction stemming from a 2022 fatal crash in Turner. Christopher Williams/Sun Journal

An analysis of the truck revealed that Diaz was traveling at roughly 110 mph at the time of impact, when taking into account the size of the truck’s tires, Mador said.

The same analysis showed that Diaz only began braking one second before the crash, Mador said.

A commercial truck in the area captured the crash on its dash cam and the recording of the incident was played in court Monday.

Stewart said the impact of the crash reminded him of an “explosion,” after he had watched the video. He said the impact of the crime on the victims, including Ivers’ family, is “significant.”

Diaz, who had no criminal record, was “stone cold sober” at the time of the crash, which is something Stewart noted as being unusual.

Defense attorney Walter McKee suggested Diaz and his girlfriend had been arguing at the time of the crash, which may have been a contributing factor.


Stewart said he was troubled over the conduct displayed by Diaz after he had been released on bail and was later cited for criminal speeding in a similar pickup truck, going 65 mph in a 35 mph zone, calling it, “eerily, the same conduct” as the fatal crash.

After reviewing phone calls involving Diaz when he was an inmate at Androscoggin County Jail, Stewart said it appeared that Diaz had not expressed remorse about the crash. Instead, he seemed to be displaying bravado.

McKee told the judge that his client’s father had left home when Diaz was just 10 years old and he had stepped up by taking care of his mother and sisters. He had scavenged bike parts, put them together and sold them before, at age 12, going to work on a farm to make money to help feed his family, McKee said.

At age 20, he went to Florida to be with his grandfather during his final days before he died. Diaz went on to start his own power-washing business, McKee said. Family members and friends from both sides in the case spoke at Monday’s sentencing.

Barbara Ullman, Ivers’ sister, said the two were close, calling and texting often daily, shopping and trading recipes and books.

“She was so full of life and laughter,” Ullman said.


The events of Dec. 11, 2022, ended that relationship, she said.

“It’s been 12 months now and our hearts are still breaking.” she said. “I can still feel the tears running down my face … Carol was very precious to us to take it so unexpectedly.”

Bonnie Belanger, Ivers’ daughter, said her mother was her best friend and her hero.

“My mom was a special person who would make everyone feel special,” she said.

When her mother didn’t show up on Dec. 11 as expected, Bellanger drove down Route 4, saw the fire trucks and was told her mother was deceased.

“My heart broke,” she said.


Sarah Cholewinski, Ivers’ granddaughter, said the two of them were “unified unlike any other. She was my person” and best friend, she said. “When she died, a piece of me died, too.

“There’s absolutely no closure, just a huge void where she used to be,” she said.

Family members told Stewart that Diaz provided the fatherless family with a strong work ethic, patience, love, support, care and affection.

“I appreciate his reliability and thoughtfulness by always being willing to call me and check on how I’m doing,” his sister, Mikayla Diaz, said Monday.

Jacob Diaz addressed the Ivers family Monday, saying, “I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart.”

He continued: “I know that my apologies are hollow to them, but there is nothing else I can do other than to tell them that I was wrong. I never should have driven so fast and there is not a day that goes by that I do not think about what I did and all of the terrible pain I have caused to their family.”

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