Bucket loader escapade case ends with teen admission

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LEWISTON — A 15-year-old Litchfield boy who commandeered a stolen bucket loader with a friend last September, leaving a trail of wreckage in their wake, admitted Tuesday to a related juvenile felony.

Shawn Demarest appeared in 8th District Court dressed in a blue button-down shirt and gray slacks. He admitted to aggravated criminal mischief and was sentenced by a judge to a juvenile correctional facility, such as Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland, until his 16th birthday.

But Judge Rick Lawrence suspended that sentence and directed Demarest to remain at a children’s residential treatment home, called Becket House in Auburn, where Demarest had been living before the incident.

He will be on probation until his 16th birthday, during which time he must continue his schooling, mental health and psychological counseling and treatment, have no contact with co-defendant Matthew Newton-Fortin of Auburn and perform 50 hours of community service.

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Demarest faced nearly a dozen criminal charges in Kennebec County and eight additional charges in Androscoggin County stemming from the Sept. 16 incident, during which police said the two climbed into a $10,000 bucket loader that belonged to a Richmond general contractor without permission shortly after midnight in West Gardiner.

From there, the pair drove the machine through Sabattus, running over an $8,000 sign in front of Fielder’s Choice Homemade Ice Cream and plowed into mailboxes, parked cars, street signs and fire hydrants throughout Sabattus, according to police reports.

They continued south through Lewiston onto the Maine Turnpike and crossed the median, facing oncoming traffic in the northbound lanes. The bucket loader struck a police car and a private vehicle before Lewiston officers shot at the bucket loader’s tires near the New Gloucester barrier toll, police said. The two boys were taken from the bucket loader shortly after 5:30 a.m.

University of Maine School of Law third-year student attorney Cailley Bonti represented Demarest in court Tuesday. Bonti works in the Juvenile Justice Clinic within the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic.

“We are disappointed that we did have to advise our client to accept a felony adjudication but we’re confident we can work with him in the future to mitigate some collateral consequences that come with that and will continue to work with him,” she said.

Assistant District Attorney Nathan Walsh dismissed the remaining criminal charges, including traffic-related charges of driving to endanger and refusing to stop for police.

Newton-Fortin had admitted earlier to several juvenile felonies, including attempted elevated aggravated assault and aggravated criminal mischief. He was ordered to remain at Long Creek until his 16th birthday.

cwilliams@sunjournal.com

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