A Winslow man accused of causing the death of a woman who was riding with him on a motorcycle more than three years ago pleaded guilty Wednesday in Somerset County Superior Court to reckless conduct, a Class C crime.
Robert L. Searles II, 54, was sentenced to two years in prison, all suspended, to be followed by two years of probation, according to his attorney, Darrick X. Banda of Augusta.
The lesser plea was offered after Superior Court Justice Bruce Mallonee last year suppressed the results of Searles’ blood alcohol test. That led to the dismissal of manslaughter and aggravated operating under the influence of intoxicant charges, according to District Attorney Maeghan Maloney.
Although Searles consented to the blood test, Mallonee found that the prosecution could not prove he had been informed of his right to refuse the test, the consequences of that refusal or that Searles had been told he had the right to remain silent.
Brandy Lilly-Bizier, 38, of Winslow died on May 13, 2018, on Kennebec River Road in Embden after Searles lost control of his motorcycle on a curve and she was thrown into a fence. They were riding with a group of other motorcyclists when the crash happened.
The Somerset County Sheriff’s office concluded that Searles was going 27 mph over the 55 mph speed limit when he lost control of the motorcycle. His blood alcohol level was .103 percent. The legal limit to operate a vehicle in Maine is .08 percent.
If he had been convicted on the most serious charge of manslaughter, Searles would have faced up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.