AUGUSTA (AP) – A Winthrop man has been handed a one-year jail term for causing a highway crash last year in Mount Vernon that killed his girlfriend.

Patrick Higgins, 25, pleaded guilty Monday in Kennebec County Superior Court to manslaughter in the accident that took the life of Laura Carsey and put him in a coma for days with a severe brain injury.

Accident reconstruction specialists estimated that Higgins was driving 87 mph in a 45 mph zone on March 7, 2002, when his car crossed into the opposite lane on North Road and struck a van.

Justice Donald Marden sentenced Higgins to 10 years in prison, with all but one year suspended, followed by six years’ probation, in line with a plea agreement negotiated by prosecution and defense lawyers.

AP-ES-10-07-03 0217EDT

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