A Medway man accused of causing his wife’s death in August 2019 when he crashed the couple’s 1999 Ford Ranger on Interstate 95 near Lincoln while high on drugs will serve 31 months after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and drunken driving charges on Thursday.
Joshua M. Bell, 32, was sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but 31 months suspended.
In addition to prison time, he was sentenced to four years of probation during a remote hearing at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor. If he violates his probation, he could be sent back behind bars to serve the remainder of his 10-year sentence. Superior Court Justice Ann Murray also ordered Bell to pay a $2,100 fine. His license to drive will be suspended for 10 years after his release from prison, she said.
Just prior to being sentenced, Bell’s attorney, Terence Harrigan of Bangor, read his client’s statement after Bell broke down and was unable to continue reading it. In the statement, Bell apologized to his in-laws for the crash that took their child from them, and he promised to remain sober.
“I refuse to take drugs anymore and I will devote myself to making ongoing and lifelong strides to maintain my sobriety,” he said.
Bell was driving south at about 7 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2019, through Mattamiscontis Township when he drifted from the passing lane into the median, according to Maine State Police. Bell overcorrected, and the pickup truck rolled over and came to rest on its side, blocking both lanes.
Stephanie Bell, 36, of Medway was thrown from the truck and died at the scene. Her parents did not attend the hearing.
Joshua Bell was arrested on drug charges the next day after troopers found heroin and methamphetamine at the crash scene. Evidence of those drugs was found after the crash in Bell’s bloodstream, Lynch said Thursday.
On Aug. 12, he was released from the Penobscot County Jail on unsecured bail with conditions that he not use drugs. His bail was later revoked.
Bell faced up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 on the manslaughter charge. On the charge of aggravated criminal operating under the influence of intoxicants, he faced up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.