ROCKLAND, Maine — A St. Louis man is scheduled to go on trial next month on a drunken driving charge from 26 years ago.
Richard B. Sant, 52, wanted to deal with the case and put it behind him, defense attorney Walter McKee said Wednesday.
Sant was arrested July 9, 1988, after being stopped by then Maine State Police Trooper John Cousins on Route 1 in Warren. Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald told the court Wednesday that Sant’s blood-alcohol level was 0.17 based on an intoxilyzer test. Sant was 26 years old at the time and lived in St. Louis.
A not guilty plea was entered on Sant’s behalf a month later by his then attorney Robert Levine.
Sant later failed to appear for a court hearing. An arrest warrant was issued in March 1989 and his right to drive in Maine was suspended.
The case remained inactive until September 2014, when Sant agreed to come to Knox County where he posted $500 bail to have the 1989 arrest warrant lifted. McKee did not comment further on what led Sant to address the matter after more than a quarter century.
Fernald said the arresting officer still lives in the state and will be available for trial. The prosecutor said the case was not dropped because it would send the wrong message that people can ignore court appearances, hope that if they wait long enough it will be forgotten. The prosecutor pointed out that, because of a compact between the states, if a license is suspended in Maine, it can be suspended in other states.
McKee represented Sant on Wednesday at the hearing in Knox County Superior Court to schedule the case for trial. The attorney said his client would waive being present at jury selection but would fly to Maine for the trial.