A Waterville man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but three years suspended, plus four years of probation, for manslaughter in connection with a fatal 2017 collision in Dresden.
Patrick J. Shorey, 26, had pleaded guilty March 11 to one count each of class A manslaughter, class B (aggravated) criminal OUI, class C (aggravated) criminal OUI, class C driving to endanger, class D unlawful possession of scheduled drugs, and class E operating without a license.
The charges of operating under the influence are aggravated because he caused the death of one person, represented by the class B charge, and serious injury to another, the class C charge.
Shorey was sentenced during a hearing at the Lincoln County Courthouse in Wiscasset on Tuesday, May 28.
“Even though there is a strong disagreement about what is the appropriate sentence here, I think the memos and the arguments made today illustrate that even in these terrible circumstances, in a serious case like this, there are two sides of the story,” Superior Court Justice Daniel Billings said.
Shorey will serve his sentences for the lesser charges concurrently with his sentence on the manslaughter charge.
In addition, Shorey will pay $2,100 in fines and will serve at least a 10-year license suspension.
Shorey’s probation conditions prohibit him from operating a motor vehicle, prohibit his possession or use of alcohol or illegal drugs, require him to submit to random searches and tests, require him to undergo treatment for substance abuse, and prohibit contact with the victim’s family.
The fatal wreck occurred around 9:20 a.m., June 2, 2017, just north of the Wiscasset town line.
Shorey was driving a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu south, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Rand Maker said at the time. Carolyn G. Blouin, 75, of Rockville, Conn., was driving a 1995 Toyota Camry station wagon north. The Blouins were driving back to Connecticut after visiting family in Bristol.
It was a “clear and dry” day, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Gerety said. Gerety prosecuted the case.
Shorey was going 69 mph in a 55-mph zone when he crossed the centerline.
“He didn’t touch the brakes until crashing into the vehicle head-on,” Gerety said.
Carolyn Blouin was pronounced dead at the scene due to blunt-force trauma. Her husband and passenger, Charles J. Blouin, 81, was seriously hurt. He suffered several broken bones, including an arm, leg, hip, and ribs, Gerety said. Shorey was also hurt.
Carolyn Blouin attempted to get out of the way, but was hemmed in by a guardrail. She also tried to slow down.
“By the time Mr. Shorey hit her, she was going about 26 mph,” Gerety said.
Shorey had a tin in his sock that contained methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, which he claimed was not his, Gerety said.
“He told investigators that he was heading to work when this crash happened and he hadn’t used meth lately. He only uses it when he has to go to work and when he’s overtired,” Gerety said.
A blood test revealed that Shorey was under the influence of methamphetamine and marijuana at the time of the crash.
Shorey was clutching his cellphone when first responders arrived and helped him out of his car. Looking through the phone, investigators found he had been exchanging Facebook messages around the time of the crash, Gerety said.
Shorey told investigators he had insomnia, but he did not think he fell asleep when the crash happened.
Gerety said Shorey did not have a driver’s license. He had a learner’s permit, but did not have a licensed passenger inside the car as required.
With the circumstances of intoxication, exhaustion, speeding, and not having a driver’s license, Gerety said, “It was only a matter of time before he hurt or killed somebody.”
At the time of Shorey’s plea March 11, the state and the defense agreed to a cap of four years on Shorey’s initial prison sentence.
Gerety argued for the cap Tuesday. He said the sentence would promote rehabilitation and deter future offenses, and would not “diminish the gravity of the offense.”
Listing aggravating factors of the case, Gerety included Shorey’s September 2018 conviction for operating a methamphetamine laboratory. The conviction was based on criminal conduct in October 2017, less than four months after the crash.
Shorey’s defense attorney, Jeremy Pratt, argued for 18 months.
At the time of the crash, Shorey did not have a criminal history, Pratt said.
“Four months later he picks up a new charge. Mr. Shorey would be the first to admit that during that time period he was continuing to struggle with drugs, he had no counseling, no knowledge how to deal with the substance abuse,” Pratt said.
When Shorey went to jail for the meth lab, Pratt said, he took advantage of all the services available to him.
“He’s cleaned up and has a new look on life, on how to handle his sobriety and how he should handle his life going forward,” Pratt said. “One of the ways you can show that what I’m saying is genuine is he is probably one of the most supervised people in the state of Maine over the last so many months since he was released from that Kennebec County sentence.”
In addition, Pratt said, Shorey has not tested positive for drugs or had any violations while free on bail.
Pratt said Shorey wanted to begin community service at a church on his own accord.
“He had indicated to me that he had read on his own a newspaper article about the victims in this particular case and they were churchgoers and religious, so he decided to go to a church and volunteer,” Pratt said.
As of Tuesday, Shorey had spent 36 1/2 hours of community service at an area church and has become a regular member as well, Pratt said.
“Mr. Shorey has responded in a way that is admirable. He’s trying to give something back. He is trying to be a good person,” Pratt said.
Members of Shorey’s family were present at court. Most, if not all, wrote letters in his support. Two of them spoke.
Shorey’s grandmother, Sharon Forbus, gave her testimony first.
Forbus said Shorey has been a “good kid most of his life” and drugs “changed him.” She said he has experienced much loss in his life from the deaths of many family members.
“He’s said to me … ‘I’m going to have to do some jail time. I deserve to be punished for this, but I want to continue on and make a better life for myself, and do the things I need to do to improve me,’” Forbus said.
Shorey’s younger brother also spoke on his behalf before Shorey addressed the court.
“If there were any way I could take back what happened that day, I would, or even if I could take her place, I would gladly do so,” Shorey said.
“I wish I could change the past, but I can’t, and I hope I can be a better person in the future for her, her family, myself, and my children, because I don’t want to go through life thinking she passed for nothing,” he said.
One of Carolyn Blouin’s family members was present at court, but declined to speak.
Billings gave his explanation for the sentence.
“In reading the memos, obviously I don’t agree with everything that was said on both sides. Most of what’s said on both sides I believe is true,” Billings said.
The judge said the case is another reflection of the number of crimes as a result of addiction and the human impact of addiction in the community and the state.
However, Billings disagreed with the prosecution that Shorey’s criminal conduct after the crash was an aggravating factor, saying it was “all part of Shorey’s ongoing untreated substance abuse issue.”
Billings said Shorey has complied with bail conditions and taken his addiction seriously.
“Even when someone’s recklessness results in something as tragic as what occurred in this case, that’s different than when someone acts intentionally or knowingly,” Billings said.
Shorey went into custody the same day. He will initially go to the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, Pratt said. He will be classified and will either stay there or be transferred somewhere else.