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Trucker faces new charges in fatal crash on highway

AUGUSTA, Maine -- A trucker with a long history of driving infractions now stands charged with manslaughter and driving under the influence of marijuana when his rig crushed a Scarborough woman's car on Interstate 95 last summer.

Scott Hewitt was indicted on the new charges Friday after tests confirmed the presence of marijuana in his bloodstream after crash, said Evert Fowle, district attorney in Kennebec County, where the crash took place.

Before the new indictment, Hewitt faced misdemeanor violations resulting from the July 29 crash that killed Tina Turcotte.

Hewitt, 33, of Caribou, now faces charges of manslaughter, criminal operating under the influence, and operating under the influence of a controlled substance resulting in the death of another person. All three are felony charges.

Turcotte was driving a car that came to a stop because of road construction and was hit from behind by Hewitt's tractor-trailer. Her car was crushed by Hewitt's rig, and she was pinned in the wreckage. She died several days later.

The accident drew outrage when Hewitt's driving history was revealed.

Hewitt had 63 driving convictions and 22 license suspensions and was involved in a previous fatal accident. The outcry led to legislation, known as ''Tina's Law," which proposes seizing driver's licenses and vehicles of suspended drivers if they're caught behind the wheel, as well as jail sentences for offenders.

Turcotte's mother, Pat LaNigra of Scarborough, said she was glad to see that stiffer charges were brought against Hewitt. But it doesn't make the loss of Turcotte, a 40-year-old cancer survivor, any easier, she said. ''Bottom line, this doesn't take away any of the hurt or pain," LaNigra said.

Hewitt remains in the Kennebec County Jail, where he's being held on $75,000 cash bail or $300,000 worth of real estate.

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