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Maine driver in fatal crash appears in court

August 12, 2013

BIDDEFORD, Maine (AP) — A Maine man whose blood-alcohol content was allegedly more than twice the legal limit for driving when he struck a family of three on a bike ride was returned to jail after his initial court appearance Monday.

David Labonte, 56, who’s charged with manslaughter and drunken driving, entered no plea in Springvale District Court, where a judge set bail at $100,000. If he’s released, he’s not allowed to drive or to drink alcohol.

Labonte struck Jamerico Elliott, Melodie Brennan and their 15-month old son, who was in a bike seat with his dad, on Aug. 2 in Biddeford, police said.

Elliott died Wednesday. The boy remains hospitalized, while Brennan was released.

Labonte previously said an asthma-induced coughing fit caused him to pass out. But prosecutors said Labonte had a blood-alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit for driving.

An off-duty Kennebunk police officer witnessed the crash.

Kennebunk Police Lt. Daniel Jones, who was headed to a restaurant, told the York County Coast Star that the driver took no evasive action as the vehicle crossed the road and ran onto the sidewalk.

“I’ve seen multiple accidents before, but this was different in that it was just so slow moving because of the drift,” Jones said. “It was just surreal.”

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