SKOWHEGAN — A Moscow man was sentenced this week to spend at least 30 days in jail for his involvement in a motor vehicle crash that killed two women.

Eric Tankerley Photo courtesy of Somerset County Jail

Eric Tankerley, 35, was sentenced Monday to five years, with all but 30 days suspended, in connection with the crash on May 14, 2022.

Authorities say the crash happened after Tankerley’s pickup truck hit his friends’ truck from behind as he tried passing it on Route 201 near Caratunk, causing the other truck to spin out of control, veer off the road and into a tree. Caratunk is in Somerset County, about 40 miles northwest of Skowhegan.

Jordan Merchant, 25, of Eastbrook, and her passenger, Lindsey Walsh, 28, of Lakeville, Massachusetts, were both pronounced dead at the scene. They were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the wreck, police said.

Tankerley was good friends with both Merchant and Walsh, authorities said. Prior to the crash, officials said the group had been hanging out at a local swimming hole in The Forks and were headed to Moscow to watch a hockey game.

Speed and alcohol were cited by investigators as factors in the crash, according to the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.


Tankerley had been indicted by a grand jury last year on two counts of manslaughter, two counts of aggravated criminal operating under the influence, and single counts of criminal speed and driving to endanger.

A new charge of driving to endanger was brought forward Monday by Deputy District Attorney Francis Griffin. Tankerley pleaded guilty to that new count.

Griffin made a motion Monday to dismiss the first six counts and move ahead with a sentence based on Tankerley’s plea, which Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen allowed.

After he is released in 30 days, Tankerley will be on supervised release for two years. He will not be allowed to use or possess alcohol or illegal drugs and will also have to complete substance abuse counseling and treatment.

One condition of Tankerley’s release is that he must either speak at two local high schools about the dangers of drinking and driving or donate at least $1,000 to an anti-drunk driving nonprofit.

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