AUBURN – Marc Levesque stood behind a microphone in the courtroom and glared as he talked about the last time he saw his father.

He clenched his fists and shook his head as he talked about the blood coming out of his father’s ears and mouth, as he described watching his father grab his chest and moan in pain while they waited for an ambulance to arrive.

“You,” Levesque said to Steven Davies, “crossed the line.”

Then Levesque told Davies, “I hope you rot in hell.”

Minutes later, Levesque sat in the front row of the courtroom with his arms folded across his chest as a Superior Court judge ordered Davies to serve the maximum sentence for his crimes: 364 days in jail and $2,500 in fines.

For Marc Levesque and the rest of Robert Levesque’s family, the sentence brought no relief and did little to alleviate their anger.

They blame Davies for the death of their father, husband, brother and friend. Under the laws of the court, however, Davies is guilty of much less.

Plea deal

Davies was initially charged with manslaughter, aggravated assault and reckless conduct in connection with the snowmobile accident that killed Levesque on Dec. 29, 2002.

As a result of a plea agreement reached last May, however, the 36-year-old Navy veteran is guilty of only two things: hiding his snowmobile after he crashed into Levesque on Sabattus Lake and failing to report the accident as soon as it happened.

The first is a misdemeanor charge that carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $2,000 fine. The second is a civil offense punishable by a maximum fine of $500.

“I realize that nothing I do in this sentence will lessen the hurt you all have,” Justice Ellen Gorman said to the Levesque family Friday before announcing Davies’ punishment. “I want to assure you I’ve taken your loss into consideration.”

Accident or homicide

Gorman described Davies’ actions – his decision to leave Levesque on the ice, his failure to immediately report the accident and his attempt to hide his snowmobile and lie to police when they showed up at his door six hours later – as dishonest and cowardly.

As a result of those actions, the judge said, investigators got to Davies too late to determine whether he had been drinking at the time of the accident.

“His actions just didn’t delay the investigation, they prevented it,” Gorman said. “No one will ever know for sure if this was an accident or a homicide.”

The crash occurred on a dark, cold night.

Levesque was taking his usual walk on Sabattus Lake. He was wearing dark clothing and carrying a flashlight.

Davies, whose parents’ camp on Sabattus Lake is close to the home that Robert Levesque and his wife built in the early 1990s, was driving his snowmobile at about 70 mph when he crashed into Levesque.

After the collision, Davies drove home and asked his brother-in-law, Robert Cyr, to check the ice. Cyr found Levesque lying on the ice surrounded by snowmobile parts.

He put Levesque on his snowmobile and drove about a half-mile to Levesque’s home.

Levesque’s wife, Patricia, his son and his daughter-in-law, Kim, were there when Cyr arrived.

“Every time I see Mr. Davies’ truck or vehicle, all I can think is the moaning and groaning, Bob clutching his chest,” Kim Levesque said Friday.

Broken windshield

Robert Levesque died on the way to the hospital. His family believes he would be alive if Davies had gone directly to a nearby house and called 911.

“Anybody knows you don’t move a person in that state. I’ll hate you for the rest of my life,” Marc Levesque said to Davies on Friday.

According to police, Cyr took investigators to the scene but never mentioned that he knew the person who hit Levesque. Investigators went to Davies’ house about six hours later after finding a piece of broken windshield showing a registration number for a snowmobile in his name.

Davies initially denied being involved in the accident. He told police that his snowmobile was parked at his brother-in-law’s house, then he walked with officers to find it.

When it was discovered that the snowmobile was not there, Davies told police that he wanted to report it stolen. It wasn’t until after investigators discovered the damaged snowmobile on a trail in the woods that Davies admitted to being involved.

Slap in the face’

State prosecutors agreed to the plea because they believe they wouldn’t have been able to get a conviction on the more serious charges, given the state’s laws.

Maine does not have a posted speed limit on lakes. Additionally, the state had no evidence that Davies was drinking before the crash. And, unlike with car crashes, it isn’t a criminal offense to leave the scene of an accident because it is assumed that many accidents occur in remote areas.

Still, the deal devastated the Levesque family.

“Going from a manslaughter to a misdemeanor is a slap in the face,” Patricia Levesque said. “I feel it makes a mockery of our judicial system.”

She accused Davies of still trying to run and hide.

“After all of this time, I feel like you still haven’t accepted accountability for what you’ve done,” she said. “Please just stay away from me and let me live my life in peace.”

Not good enough’

Dressed in a suit with a yellow ribbon and an American flag pinned to his lapel, Davies turned to speak to Levesque when it was his turn to talk.

“I know there is nothing I can say to bring my friend, Bob, back,” he said. “I didn’t leave Bob there to die. I’m not that type of person. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I know it’s not good enough.”

After the hearing, as Davies was being taken to Androscoggin County Jail for his year-long stay, Robert Levesque’s relatives said his apology meant nothing to them.

For now, they plan to focus their efforts on fighting for changes in Maine’s snowmobile laws. They also are anticipating the court’s handling of Davies’ brother-in-law.

Robert Cyr has been charged with two counts of hindering apprehension or prosecution for allegedly telling Davies to hide his snowmobile and for not telling police that he knew who hit Levesque. His case is on this month’s trial list.

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