March 10-AUBURN – A judge sentenced a Sabattus man Friday to spend nearly five years in prison for killing an Auburn woman after the truck he was driving crashed into the car she was a passenger in. last summer
In a plea deal, Ryan Curran, 38, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but most of that time was suspended except for 58 months. He will be on probation for four years after his release from prison.
Curran pleaded guilty Friday to four counts of a 20-count indictment stemming from the June 8 crash at the intersection of Lisbon Street and Scribner Boulevard in Lewiston.
Prosecutors dropped the remaining 16 charges after Curran’s arraignment and sentencing on Friday.
He admitted Friday that at the time of the crash he was in violation of his probation for a prior drug trafficking conviction.
Curran also pleaded guilty Friday to charges of involuntary manslaughter, operating after suspension or revocation and causing an accident resulting in death, driving to endanger and aggravated criminal operating under the influence, all felonies.
Shari Williams, 60, of Auburn was a passenger in the back seat of a car that was stopped at a stoplight at the intersection, Assistant District Attorney Patricia Mador said Friday in Androscoggin County Superior Court.
Police said the 2,000-pound pickup truck driven by Curran was entering Lisbon Road when it rear-ended the car occupied by Williams and three others.
The force of the impact forced the car into a cargo van stopped in front of it, Mador said.
He showed a video clip of the crash that was captured by a road camera.
Williams died from his injuries in the crash, Mador said.
When the van was stopped, Curran can be seen on video going into the bathroom of a nearby store. Police later found drug paraphernalia in that bathroom.
Curran told police that he and his brother, who was a passenger in the truck, had returned from work in Camden, had eaten lunch and were on their way to another job.
He told police he had used crack cocaine the previous two nights and had discarded evidence in the bathroom, Mador said.
His brother had told police that he had looked at his cell phone shortly before the accident and when he looked, his brother appeared to be asleep behind the wheel.
Crash reconstruction experts estimated the truck’s speed to be about 21 mph at the time of the collision. There was no evidence that Curran had hit the brakes, Mador said.
A blood test showed multiple drugs in Curran’s system at the time of the crash, Mador said, including cocaine and opioids.
The other occupants of the car suffered serious injuries from the crash, Mador said.
The car’s driver said Friday that he has found it difficult to get by every day since the crash.
He said he now suffers from extreme anxiety stemming from post-traumatic stress disorder and severe major depressive disorder.
He told Curran that he had chosen to drive under the influence and, as a result, took the life of “a great friend to many, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter and a sister. I really hope that think long and hard about the life you’ve changed. I hope one day I can find it in my heart to forgive and I hope you forget this ever happened.”
Williams’ sister said Friday that she had an “emptiness inside” and “life is not the same without Shari.”
A lawyer representing the victim’s family in a civil matter read a statement from Peter Williams, Shari’s husband.
“Nothing I can ever do or say can change the bad decisions made that day … that took the life of my wife, Shari Williams,” the attorney read. The husband’s statement said that he will never be the same without his high school sweetheart who would have celebrated her 43rd birthday.
“The loss is unbearable for all of us. It is a nightmare from which I will never wake up,” read the lawyer.
While Curran was free on bail, he complied with all terms of his release, including drug tests.
His attorney, Timothy Zerillo, said his client has great remorse for his actions and has “returned to his religion” and “I think he’s made huge strides” in his personal growth.
Curran briefly said he was sorry.
His father told the judge that his son had relived the crash several times and has matured since the crash.
“From now on he will be a very good person,” he said.
Curran was handcuffed and led from the courtroom by deputies after Friday’s hearing.
When Curran is released from prison, he must not have any alcohol or illegal drugs for which he can be searched and tested at random.
They must undergo substance abuse counseling and treatment.
Curran may have no contact with the victim’s family.
He can reapply for his driver’s license 10 years after being released from prison.