AUBURN — A Farmingdale woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated driving to endanger in the 2017 New Year’s Day death of a Livermore Falls man.
Charges of manslaughter and aggravated criminal operating under the influence were dismissed as part of a plea deal.
Sarah Clark, 31, will serve 90 days in jail, from Aug. 1 to Oct. 29.
Clark entered her plea in Androscoggin County Criminal Court. The charge could be reduced to misdemeanor driving to endanger if she abides by certain conditions. They include not using or possessing alcohol, staying out of any business that serves alcohol, undergoing substance-abuse counseling and treatment, submitting to random search and testing, and either being employed or going to school.
When Clark is released from jail, she will be sentenced to six months, all suspended, with one year of probation. She will have to abide by the agreed conditions during that period. She will also be fined $575 and her license will be suspended for 90 days, according to court records.
According to the Androscoggin County grand jury indictment, Clark’s blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit when she struck a car driven by Brady Romano on Route 4 in Livermore at 1:20 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2017.
Shawn Berry, 41, of Livermore Falls was a passenger in Romano’s car and became sick. When Romano pulled to the side of the road, Berry started to get out of the car. He was killed when Clark sideswiped the back of Romano’s car.
According to police, Clark and a passenger performed CPR on Berry, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
About eight months after Berry died, his wife Kathleen Berry filed a civil complaint against Clark, alleging the wrongful death of her husband. Also named in the suit is Sapphire Entertainment, which operates a nightclub on Center Street in Auburn, Giovanni Delvecchio of Farmingdale, who owned the car Clark was driving and was her passenger at the time of the accident, and Romano, who lives in Livermore Falls.
According to the complaint, Clark and Delvecchio were at Sapphire on New Year’s Eve 2016 where they were served alcohol. After midnight, the two left the club and got into Delvecchio’s 2013 Ford SUV and headed north on Route 4.
At the time, the road was covered with fresh snow and falling snow had reduced traction and visibility.
At the time of the crash, Berry was attempting to get out of the car and was “thrown violently around inside the vehicle,” suffering fractures to his spine, ribs and a ruptured aortic arch, according to the civil complaint.
No one else involved in the crash was injured, according to the accident report.
Kathleen Berry’s complaint claims Clark was negligent in driving under the influence, driving too fast for conditions, failing to maintain control of the car, failing to see the road ahead of her and failing to keep the car in the proper lane.
The accident report notes that she failed to stay in her lane and was driving too fast for conditions.
The complaint against Delvecchio alleges he should have known Clark was under the influence and was negligent in permitting her to drive his car.
Claims of negligence and reckless service of liquor against the club allege that the club and its staff overserved alcohol to Clark, even after she was visibly intoxicated.
Berry’s complaint also includes a claim of negligence against Romano, whom she claims failed to pull completely out of the travel lane and failed to activate his flashers to notify other drivers “of the hazard created by his stopped vehicle.”
The accident report notes that the back of Romano’s car was partially in the roadway at the time of the accident.
Kathleen Berry is seeking medical and funeral expenses, financial damages and damages for the loss of her husband.
Sarah Clark of Farmingdale leaves Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn in July 2017, with her lawyer, Justin Leary. (Sun Journal file photo)