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Maine Trucker Won't Be Charged in Fatal Crash

WESTPORT, Conn. – The driver of the tractor-trailer that struck the rear of Connecticut YMCA minivan in Maine this past August, killing Westport student Tess Meisel , will not face criminal charges, the Morning Sentinel in Maine reports .

The district attorney's office considered bringing a vehicular manslaughter charge against the driver, 53-year-old Charles Willey of Dexter, Maine, Franklin County Assistant District Attorney James Andrews told the newspaper. But after reviewing the police investigation into the Aug. 17 crash, the office decided not to — although the investigation showed excessive speed caused Willey to lose control of the truck.

"There is insufficient evidence to prove criminal negligence, which does not mean that there isn't civil liability," Andrews told the newspaper.

Willey was driving 11 mph over the posted 30 mph speed limit when he took a right turn, veered across the road and crushed the rear of the minivan, the accident investigation showed. Tess, 12, was seated in the rear row of the van.

Two other campers, Westport resident Samantha Galvao, 13, and 15-year-old Samantha Hollander of Wilton, were injured. The van's driver, Charles Powell, 23, and Willey were hospitalized after the crash.

Although Willey was found to be speeding, Andrews said he wasn't traveling at a speed that is considered "a gross deviation." He added that typically, a vehicle must be going at least 30 mph over the speed limit for criminal speeding charges to stick.

The minivan, owned by Camp Jewell YMCA in Colebrook, Conn., was traveling on Route 2 in Farmington, Maine, when the accident occurred. The kids were driving back from Acadia National Park. Tess and the other campers were participating in a horseback-riding trip .

Tess would have entered eighth-grade at Coleytown Middle School this fall.

Read the entire article from the Morning Sentinel here .

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