June 19, 2019

Accident leads to 4 years in jail Adams found guilty of manslaughter

ROCKLAND – The Cushing man found guilty of killing his wife in a drunken-driving accident last year faces four years in prison.

Knox County Superior Court Justice Joseph Jabar on Thursday sentenced Carl Adams to 12 years in prison, with all but four years suspended, on charges of manslaughter and aggravated operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicants. Adams also was given a six-year probation term.

A jury found Adams, 43, guilty of the charges on April 25.

Adams, his wife Brenda Adams, 55, and Adams’ son, Michael Adams, were driving on Route 97 in Cushing on March 4, 2001, when the vehicle crashed after passing a truck.

Carl Adams had been drinking beer on and off all day since as early as 10 a.m., according to testimony heard during the trial.

Adams had testified that his wife had pulled on the steering wheel.

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau asked that Adams be sentenced to 14 years, with all but five years suspended.

“He showed no genuine remorse,” Rushlau said Friday.

Adams tried to mislead law enforcement officers, he continued, by telling them initially that his wife had been driving the car. The attempt to mislead, Rushlau told the judge, showed that Adams did not take responsibility for his actions.

Rushlau also asked the judge to consider that just 24 days before the accident, Adams had ended a term of probation on an assault charge. The terms of the probation included restrictions on the use of alcohol, he said.

Adams’ attorney, Steven Peterson of Rockport, said Friday that he is appealing the conviction on two points.

Before the trial, Peterson had sought to block statements Adams made at the scene of the accident and at the hospital from being used in court, but a judge allowed the statements.

Peterson said Friday that Adams was medicated and in shock at the time of those statements, which the prosecution used against him.

Peterson also sought to block statements reportedly made by Michael Adams shortly after the accident to a woman whose van was almost struck by the Adams vehicle, but the judge allowed them to be used in the trial. The woman said Michael Adams told her that his father had been drinking and horsing around.

In the appeal, Peterson will argue those statements were not substantiated by any other evidence and should not have been allowed.

The sentence was stayed pending the appeal, but Adams is currently in jail, Peterson said, having not met the $50,000 bail requirement.

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