Driver Gets 3 Years in Fatal Crash on New Year’s Eve 2014

A man responsible for the death of his fiancée in a car crash last New Year’s Eve has been sentenced to three years in prison. Shawn MacNevin was more than twice the legal limit in his blood alcohol level last year, when he crashed his car into a tree, killing his fiancée and the mother of his four children. MacNevin was sentenced on October 1, after pleading guilty to charges of manslaughter and aggravated operating under the influence of intoxicants.

MacNevin and his fiancée, Elizabeth Marie Horlieca, were coming home from a New Year’s Eve party when the crash occurred. According to a report at the Bangor Daily News, witnesses were prepared to testify that Horlieca had not wanted to get into the vehicle with MacNevin that night because of his drinking. Witnesses were also prepared to tell a jury that Horlieca had tried to persuade MacNevin to spend the night at the home where the party was thrown.

Vehicle found with victims inside

The vehicle was found by six people also returning home from a New Year’s Eve party who noticed ice and snow strewn about the roadway. After searching, they found MacNevin’s vehicle smashed against a tree. At that time, no pulse was detected for Horlieca.  Neither MacNevin nor Horlieca were wearing seatbelts before the crash.

The medical examiner reported that Horlieca died from a broken neck. MacNevin was also taken to an area hospital after the crash with injuries that were reported as not life-threatening.

Driver pleads guilty

MacNevin pleaded guilty to the charges on September 24. The judge overseeing the case, Superior Court Justice William Anderson stated that he wanted time to determine how long MacNevin should spend behind bars. The arrest follows three prior drunk driving convictions; two in 1998 and one in 1996.

Prosecution in the case asked for four years in prison, while defense tried to get the sentence shortened to two years. In addition to the three years behind bars, MacNevin also received a 10-year license suspension and four years of probation.

A report at WCSH 6 noted the judge took into consideration the position of MacNevin’s family, which pleaded for MacNevin to receive probation so he could continue to work and support his children. Three of the four are still minors and lived with their parents at the time of the crash.

DUIs in Maine

A report at the Portland Press Herald found that more than 158,000 Maine residents have had at least one drunk driving offense in the past 30 years. More than 47,000 have had offenses in the past 10 years. Drivers with those offenses receive a clean record after 10 years under Maine law.

In an effort to curb accidents involving DUIs, Maine has instituted Operating Under the Influence or OUI. This makes driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.8% or more a criminal offense. After arrest, the Secretary of State will automatically suspend the license of the guilty driver, even prior to a first court appearance.

States along the East Coast are also banning together this holiday season to keep one of the busiest highways in the country as safe as possible for the New Year. The initiative, which will span December 26-31, will crack down on dangerous driving on I-95 corridor. Officials will be on the lookout for distracted driving, seat belt violations and potential DUIs. Maine is one of 15 states participating in this initiative.

The legal team at Hardy, Wolf & Downing urges motorists to practice safe, responsible driving throughout the holiday season.

In the event of injury on the road, our experienced Maine accident attorneys are ready to evaluate your case and provide answers to all of your legal questions. Call 1-800-INJURED to set up a consultation anytime.