BANGOR, Maine — Friday morning in U.S. District Court Praneeth Manubolu appeared before a judge in connection to the fatal accident on August 31, in Acadia National Park.
During Friday morning's preliminary hearing, three witnesses were called by the defense. First, Ranger Brian Dominy who is investigating this crash.
Ranger Dominy said the site of the crash on Park Loop Road has a 25 mile per hour speed limit. Dominy went on to answer questions from both the government and the defense about what happened before the crash.
The four friends met just a month prior to the accident through the Meetup app. They were staying at Smuggler's Den Campground on a hiking trip and were out in Bar Harbor at Dog & Pony Tavern and Carmen Verandah. Dog & Pony told law enforcement that Manubolu ordered eight shots of whiskey on his credit card and he and his three friends each had two.
Officer Judson Cake with the Bar Harbor police department also testified on Friday morning. Officer Cake was the first person on the scene. He said that Manubolu, "just wanted me to help his friends."
Officer Jared Hardy with Bar Harbor Police echoed that sentiment.
"His concern was his friends in the car," Officer Hardy said to the courtroom.
Both Officer Cake and Officer Hardy said they could smell alcohol on Manubolu's breath and that his eyes were bloodshot. Officer Hardy went in the ambulance to Mount Desert Island Hospital with Manubolu. When they arrived at the hospital, a blood test was given.
"I don't think I want to do that," Officer Hardy told the court Manubolu said to him.
Officer Hardy explained to him that under Maine state law, blood has to be submitted in a crash like this.
Officer Hardy said Manubolu didn't want to be treated.
"I don't deserve to be medically treated because of what happened to my friends," Officer Hardy told the court Manubolu said.
The judge eventually ruled that Manubolu could be released from jail.
He will head back to his home in New Jersey and be subjected to drug and alcohol testing. He is only allowed to leave his home for work and other preapproved outings like medical appointments.
Because Manubolu isn't a U.S. citizen, he also has to surrender his passport.