Bail hiked for Hope woman accused of causing two highway deaths

By Stephen Betts | Jun 19, 2017
Photo by: Knox County Jail Danielle R. Ward

Hope — Bail was increased substantially Friday, June 16, for a Hope woman accused of causing the death of a couple earlier this year when her car struck their vehicle head-on in Woolwich.

Danielle R. Ward, 34, made her initial court appearance via video-conference from the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset. Judge Patricia Worth hiked bail to $50,000 cash, but added a second option for Ward to be released if she can post $100,000 in property as surety.

Bail had initially been set last week at $10,000 cash.

District Attorney Jonathan Liberman said the District Attorney's Office requested the higher bail based on Ward's criminal history and the circumstances of the case.

Ward remained at the jail in Wiscasset Monday, June 19. She was arrested June 14 and initially was at the Knox County Jail in Rockland.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 30 in Sagadahoc County. Ward has yet to retain an attorney or have one appointed for her.

Ward was indicted last week by a Sagadahoc County grand jury for two counts of manslaughter, three counts of aggravated criminal operating under the influence, two counts of driving to endanger and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The crash occurred Jan. 21 on Route 1 just north of the Taste of Maine Restaurant.

The crash claimed the lives of 70-year-old Robert S. Martin and his 76-year-old wife, Carolyn W. Martin, both of Woolwich. Robert Martin died at the scene and Carolyn Martin died en route to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston via a LifeFlight helicopter.

Robert Martin was driving a 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe sports utility vehicle south on Route 1 when the 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe, driven by Ward and carrying six children as passengers, veered into the oncoming lane, the Sagadahoc County Sheriff's Office reported immediately after the crash. The children ranged in age from 5 to 12 years old, according to the affidavit. Two of the children in the vehicle were Ward's.

The maximum possible sentence for manslaughter in Maine is 30 years in prison.

The endangering the welfare of a child charges include one for her children and one for the other children, according to the prosecutor.

All seven people in Ward's vehicle were taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland. A 5-year-old suffered a broken back, an 11-year-old had internal bleeding, a 12-year-old complained of abdominal pain, a 10-year-old had head trauma, a 7-year-old had an abdominal injury, and a 9-year-old had a fractured knee, according to an affidavit filed in court by the Sheriff's Office.

A deputy's inspection of the scene of the crash found no tire marks from Ward's vehicle prior to the crash. He could not determine if there were tire marks from the Martins' vehicle, because fluids from the vehicles covered that section of the road.

A paramedic told police that Ward had mentioned to him that she might have hit black ice prior to the crash. There was no evidence of black ice in the area at the time of the crash and the temperature was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the affidavit. The crash occurred shortly after 6 p.m

The deputy interviewed the 12-year-old passenger in Ward's vehicle on the day after the crash, and she said a video was playing in the DVD system in the vehicle.

The deputy also listed Ward's driving record in the police affidavit, pointing out that she had 13 convictions and six crashes in the past 11 years. Those convictions included two for operating under the influence -- in 2013 and 2008, according to the affidavit. The most recent crash was Aug. 24, 2016, in Thomaston, in which there were no injuries, according to the affidavit.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jun 20, 2017 12:01

With such a bad driving record, why was her drivers license not taken away? Also, it may be pertinent to point out that the new cars have a slight touch system to steering and a slight movement like turning around to check on children would swerve the car. Could this be the cause of the head-on?

If you wish to comment, please login.