Lewiston woman's license suspended; hearing unrelated to daughter's death

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Auburn Police Det. Nicholas Gagnon, left, answers a question from attorney Adam Sherman before Susan Cole of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Lewiston on Thursday. Cole found that Gagnon did have probable cause to stop Sherman’s client, Taneisha Thomas, on Aug. 13 at 1:18 a.m. in Auburn. 

LEWISTON — The Bureau of Motor Vehicles has suspended the license of a local woman who ran over her toddler last weekend.

The child died as a result of that accident.

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The three-year suspension begins at midnight and stems from an Aug. 13 OUI arrest in Auburn and is not related to last weekend’s incident. 

Taneisha Thomas, 27, of 50 Fairmount St. in Lewiston did not attend the hearing, but was represented by attorney Adam Sherman.

On Aug. 13, Thomas was charged with OUI after being stopped on Turner Street in Auburn. Four days later her license was suspended, but the BMV later agreed to delay that suspension pending the outcome of Thursday’s hearing.

Thomas has one prior conviction for OUI, stemming from an accident in 2013.

When the car Thomas was driving struck her 17-month-old daughter outside their home at Pleasant View Acres on Saturday evening, she was driving on a conditional license that prohibited her from consuming alcohol.

No limit had been set on when or where Thomas could drive.

BMV Assistant Director Susan Cole, who presided over Thursday’s hearing, said the three-year suspension reflected the fact that Thomas was a second offender within 10 years of a prior OUI. That is why Thomas was prohibited from drinking and driving in August, even if her blood-alcohol content had been under the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Auburn Detective Nicholas Gagnon, who stopped Thomas in August, said Thursday she had failed a field sobriety test when he pulled over her car for faulty exhaust and her car had been “drifting” in its lane.

He wrote in his police report that she had watery eyes, slow speech and an odor of intoxicants. She admitted that she had consumed two beers, he said.

A Breathalyzer test showed she had a 0.21 percent blood-alcohol content.

Sherman quizzed Gagnon for roughly half an hour about the procedures he followed during the stop and testing.

Thomas was charged with criminal OUI, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail stemming from the Aug. 13 stop. She also was charged with operating beyond license condition or restriction, a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. Her next scheduled court date is in January.

The Lewiston Police Department investigation into the toddler’s death is continuing, but police have already said it’s unlikely she will be charged in that accident. The results of a blood test for alcohol content taken after Saturday’s crash have not yet been reported from the lab, according to Lt. David St. Pierre.

cwilliams@sunjournal.com

Susan Cole of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles determined that there was probable cause to stop Taneisha Thomas when she was driving a motor vehicle on Aug. 13 at 1:18 a.m. in Auburn. Cole suspended Thomas’ driver’s license following the OUI arrest on Aug. 13. 

Adam Sherman, attorney for Taneisha Thomas, asks the arresting Auburn police officer questions about the the early morning events of Aug. 13.  

Auburn Police Det. Nicholas Gagnon answers questions about the early morning of Aug. 13 when he pulled Taneisha Thomas over in Auburn. 

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