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Driver pleads guilty in crash that killed three pedestrians

A Chelsea man admitted Wednesday to motor vehicle violations resulting in death. The counts do not carry jail time.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A driver who acknowledged falling asleep before striking three pedestrians, that resulted in the death of all of them, entered the equivalent of guilty pleas to civil driving infractions on Wednesday.

A car driven by Robert Santerre, 57, of Chelsea, crossed the center line which resulted in the death of two women and a 1-year-old girl they were pushing in a stroller on May 20, 2021, in Augusta.

He admitted Wednesday during a video court hearing to three counts of a motor vehicle violation resulting in death.

The civil violations do not carry jail time. The maximum penalty is a $5,000 fine and four-year license suspension, the Kennebec Journal reported.

Killed were Barbara Maxim-Hendsbee, 69, of Augusta, along with her granddaughter, Vada-Leigh Peaslee, of Windsor, and Maxim-Hendsbee’s friend, Rosalyn Jean, 62, of Augusta, police said.

RELATED: UPDATE: 3 killed in car-pedestrian crash in Augusta, including 1-year-old girl

Family members had hoped Santerre would face criminal charges, but District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said the driver's conduct didn't rise to the level of a manslaughter charge.

Manslaughter generally doesn't apply when there's no alcohol or drug use and the speed is only slightly over the limit, she said. "The crime is judged on the conduct, not the outcome," she said.

RELATED: Man accused of holding woman at gunpoint in NH has been arrested in Portland

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