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  • Bangor Daily News

    Passenger in car crash that killed 4 Maine Maritime students still facing charges

    By Bill Trotter,

    2024-06-10
    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=30ftcX_0tn0ot0X00

    Even though the driver in a Castine car crash that killed four students from Maine Maritime Academy pleaded guilty and was sentenced last week, the broader case has not yet concluded.

    A passenger in the car who suffered serious injuries in the crash still faces nearly the same list of charges as the driver did.

    Noelle Tavares, 22, was indicted last August on four charges of manslaughter, four counts of aggravated criminal operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicants, two counts of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, two counts of driving to endanger, and one count of criminal speed.

    Tavares, of North Falmouth, Massachusetts, was a passenger in a car with six other Maine Maritime students when it crashed in Castine on Dec. 10, 2022, as the group was returning from a night out in Bangor. Though Tavares was not the driver of the car, she was charged under a provision of state law known as accomplice liability, Hancock County District Attorney Robert Granger has said.

    Granger said Monday that Tavares had control over the car’s remote fob after the group arrived in Bangor, at which point she allegedly started buying drinks for other students. Police believe Tavares either gave the keys to the driver, Joshua Goncalves-Radding, or started the car with the fob before he drove the car back toward Castine — all acts that make her culpable in the crash, according to Granger.

    A status conference on her case in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court has been scheduled for July 10.

    Tavares’ defense attorney, William Bly of Kennebunk, did not immediately respond to request for comment Monday afternoon.

    Bly has filed a motion to suppress evidence in court, arguing that Maine State Police did not have a warrant to search Tavares’ wallet when she was in the hospital after the crash or to seize an allegedly fake ID that was in the wallet. Bly is seeking to bar any mention of the alleged fake ID from testimony, should the case go to trial.

    Goncalves-Radding, 21, of Long Island, New York, was driving the car when it left the road at high speed. The students who died in the fiery wreck were Chase Fossett, 21, of Gardiner; Riley Ignacio-Cameron, 20, of Aquinnah, Massachusetts; Brian Kenealy, 20, of York; and Luke Simpson, 22, of Rockport, Massachusetts.

    Goncalves-Radding pleaded guilty Friday to four counts of manslaughter, five felony charges of aggravated operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicants, two felony counts of reckless conduct with a dangerous  weapon, and one count each of criminal speed and unlawful use of license, both of which are misdemeanors.

    After his plea, he received an overall sentence of 18 years with all but three years suspended, meaning he has to spend three years in prison right away. Upon his release, he will have to serve four years of probation and could be sent back to prison for another 15 years if he breaks the law.

    Tavares, Goncalves-Radding, and Dominick Gecoya, 22, of Middleton, Massachusetts, suffered serious injuries in the crash but survived. Gecoya’s father owned the car, a Range Rover, but he was asleep in the far-back compartment of the car when it went airborne, struck a tree, and then caught on fire.

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