Lawyer: Teen driver wasn't drunk or texting

LEWISTON — The lawyer representing Kristina Lowe, the driver in a fatal crash in January, said a patch of ice caused the crash that killed two teenagers, not texting or drinking.

Criminal defense lawyer James Howaniec said he has proof that Lowe wasn't texting at the time of the crash. He called on Maine State Police and the media to stop saying otherwise.

“She was texting earlier that night, but the forensic evidence indicates, unequivocally, that she was not texting at the time of the crash,” Howaniec said.

Lowe, 19, was driving a Subaru sedan on Route 219 in West Paris in January when it crashed, killing passengers Rebecca Mason, 16, and Logan Dam, 19. Police say she was drunk, speeding and sending a text message when she crashed, and that she left the scene afterward.

She was arrested last week on two charges of manslaughter, aggravated operating under the influence, aggravated driving to endanger and leaving the scene of a fatal crash. She is free on a $50,000 unsecured bond.

Howaniec said Lowe's family has been quiet for months but was concerned about “very inaccurate” information about his client. “We're very concerned about our ability to get a fair trial,” he said.

He criticized Maine State Police for saying before a grand jury could hear the case that Lowe was drunk and texting while driving.

“We've watched this 19-year-old girl get tried and convicted by some people out there before she could even get formally charged,” he said.

Howaniec said Lowe is suffering from severe emotional trauma, is having nightmares about the crash and has been in counseling. Her family has been harassed, he said.

“I think just a lot of people think this is an open-and-shut case,” Howaniec said. He said the state's case is flimsy, that Lowe hit an ice patch that night, causing the crash.

Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said Thursday that “the charges speak for themselves.”

A sworn statement by Trooper Thomas Welch says Lowe told police she had been texting when she crashed. It also says an analysis of her cellphone by the Maine Computer Crimes Task Force found she had been texting at the time of the crash.

Howaniec also denied that Lowe was drunk at the time of the crash. He said her blood-alcohol level, 0.04 percent, was “an almost nonexistent amount of alcohol.”

Blood-alcohol content of less than 0.05 percent is treated as evidence, under Maine law, that a person is not under the influence of alcohol, Howaniec said.

According to the affidavit, Lowe's blood-alcohol content was 0.04 percent two hours after the crash.

Howaniec also criticized reports that people tried to take Lowe's keys from her before the crash to keep her from driving, an account given to the Sun Journal by someone who was with Lowe before the crash and who asked not to be named.

“This allegation is utterly false," Howaniec said. "There is absolutely no evidence that any such thing ever occurred.”

Lowe's father, Earl Lowe, assisted the Maine State Police in the past as a crash investigator over a four-year period.

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0.04 Two hours after the crash!!

Imagine what it was at the time of the crash. And why did she flee?? The lawyer is just trying to throw a smoke screen, like they always do, to make their client look so innocent, but anyone with half a brain will see through it. She doesn't want to take responsibility for her actions, and is going to waste a whole lot of time on this, when all she has to do is own up to what she did. Hope she spends the rest of her life in jail, because the people that died will never have their lives to live.

Richard Begin's picture

Wasn't Drunk nor texting.Now that's a Mystery

Well then who caused this fatal Accident Attorney Howaniec?
Good luck to the Accused having the Attorney she has.

He Certainly must be a Court Appointed Lawyer.Enough said about the accused. She deserves no Sympathy or and consideration about her Dismal useless life
Her family more than likely do not have the Slightest clue as to what she is accused of doing. It's all about the 'Bumpkin Factor.

 's picture

Hard To Get Fair Trial?

I do agree that due to media coverage that it could be near impossible to select an impartial jury should this matter ever reach that far. However, that is why there is a thing called change of venue.

Those cell phone records if they show at time of crash the phone was in use texting are going to be hard to dispute But then again that is what the court system is for not the media.

Kristina Gailloux's picture

upcoming teenage mom

I agree with whoever wrote about how they are saying that a 19 year olds alcohol level being .04 is okay?! She shouldn't have been drinking at all until she is 21 and maybe this wouldn't have happened...there are many things she shouldn't have been doing, but its too late for that. But its not too late for her to pay the price of not driving her safest with 2 people younger than her in the vehicle and sadly they had to lose their lives due to her irresponsibility....these families are paying the price by living without their children, well Kristina needs to pay the price by living without a life, just like the kids she killed.

 's picture

If she wasn't drunk or

If she wasn't drunk or texting, then why would her dad be at a school giving a lecture on the dangers of texting and drinking and driving?

Sounds like something he'd do only if he had some kind of life experience that included that. Like his daughter texting and drinking and driving...

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I know this doesn't apply here

I realize this doesn't apply here, but .04 percent would get a commercial driver arrested.

 's picture

We're supposed to feel bad

We're supposed to feel bad that she is suffering emotionally and having
nightmares???? At least she's still alive to be having these problems!!! And she
should be suffering, two lives were taken because of her bad judgement!

ERNEST LABBE's picture

Correct me if

Correct me if I'm wrong but 0.04 for a 19 year old that isn't supposed to be drinking is against the law making her a guilty of operating under the influence.

MICHAEL FOX's picture

Hope they have proof

I hope they have proof that the allegations are false. If not, we could see purgery added to the charges.


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