Danielle Ward, 35, of Hope (center), sits with her attorneys, Annie Stevens, left, and William Maselli, right, during a hearing in November in West Bath District Court. Credit: Beth Brogan | BDN

A Hope woman pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter for her role in a 2017 car crash that killed a Woolwich couple on Route 1, The Courier-Gazette reported.

Danielle Ward, 35, also pleaded guilty to one count each of operating under the influence, felony driving to endanger, and endangering the welfare of a child Wednesday in a West Bath courtroom, the newspaper reported.

In exchange for the pleas, prosecutors will not seek a prison sentence greater than 10 years, according to The Courier-Gazette.

[Driver had ‘dangerous’ levels of opioids, sedatives in system on night of deadly crash, expert says]

Ward was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe with seven children on Route 1 at about 6 p.m. Jan. 21, 2017, when she allegedly veered into the southbound lane and collided with a 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe driven by 70-year-old Robert Martin, Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry said at the time.

Martin died at the scene of the crash. His wife, Carolyn Martin, 76, a passenger in the Hyundai, was flown by LifeFlight of Maine helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston where she was pronounced dead.

All seven of the people in Ward’s vehicle were transported to Maine Medical Center after suffering a range of non-life-threatening injuries, The Courier-Gazette reported.

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A toxicologist testified in court in November that “very high” levels of opioids were found in Ward’s blood samples, taken at the hospital the night of the crash.

“At a level that high, I would have serious concerns about breathing well and standing up, that kind of thing,” Dr. Karen Simone, director of the Northern New England Poison Center, told the court at the time. “That suggests this is a person who has been taking opioids for awhile and is somewhat tolerant. … The fact that you could walk around or interact with people, or even drive a car, suggests to me there’s some long-term use.”

Ward was previously convicted of OUI twice in the past 10 years, according to the indictment, including a 2013 conviction in Rockland District Court.

Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.