Joshua Goncalves-Radding, 20, faces 17 charges in connection with the deadly Dec. 10 crash in Castine.
Flowers, candles and other items lay in front of four crosses erected where four Maine Maritime Academy students died Dec. 10, 2022, in a fiery single-vehicle car crash on Route 166. Three other people in the car, including the driver, survived. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

A New York man charged in the deaths of four Maine Maritime Academy students in a car crash last pleaded not guilty Monday morning to 17 charges.

Joshua Goncalves-Radding, 20, of North Babylon, New York, is facing four counts of manslaughter and 13 other charges related to the deadly Dec. 10 crash in Castine. He was indicted on the charges on April 7 by a Hancock County grand jury.

Dressed in a coat and tie, Goncalves-Radding walked into an Ellsworth courtroom with his father and then stood next to his defense attorney, Walter McKee, as he said “not guilty” 17 times during the brief hearing.

The students who died in the crash were Brian Kenealy, 20, of York; Chase Fossett, 21, of Gardiner; Luke Simpson, 22, of Rockport, Massachusetts; and Riley Ignacio-Cameron, 20, of Aquinnah, Massachusetts.

Goncalves-Radding was driving a 2013 Range Rover south on Route 166 about 2 a.m. on Dec. 10 when he left the road and hit a tree before the vehicle to erupt into flames, Shannon Moss, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said at the time.

Goncalves-Radding and two other Maine Maritime students — Noelle Tavares, 20, of North Falmouth, Massachusetts, and Dominick Gecoya, 20, of Middleton, Massachusetts — survived the crash.

Police estimate that Goncalves-Radding was driving between 106 and 111 mph when the car went off the road as the group was returning from a night out in Bangor, according to Robert Granger, district attorney for Hancock County.

The car was owned by Gecoya, Granger has said.

Goncalves-Radding also faces five counts of aggravated criminal operating under the influence, two counts of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, three counts of driving to endanger and one count each of criminal speeding, forgery and unlawful use of license. Of the 17 total charges, 13 are felonies. Two of the charges stem from his alleged use of a fake or altered driver’s license.

The crash is the deadliest to be prosecuted in the state since 1994, when a Baileyville man and his three children died when the Volkswagen Beetle he was driving collided head-on with another vehicle on Route 1 in Baring.

Bail for Goncalves-Radding, who has not been held in custody, was set Monday at $5,000 cash so he could return to New York with his father. Goncalves-Radding is tentatively scheduled to appear back in court in Ellsworth in August.

McKee said after the hearing that Goncalves-Radding no longer is enrolled at Maine Maritime Academy and still is recovering from his injuries, about which he did not provide details.

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....