AUBURN – A Lewiston woman who handed her car keys to a man who later crashed the car on a Poland road shortly before Christmas 2006 killing six people, including himself, withdrew her misdemeanor plea Wednesday.

Samantha Renee Montana, 21, pleaded guilty a year ago to a charge of permitting an unlawful use.

A judge at that time gave her a so-called “deferred disposition,” meaning that charge would be dropped later and she could withdraw her plea if, in the meantime, she were to volunteer 100 hours of community service and steer clear of the law.

If not, she would have faced a sentence of up to six months in jail.

A prosecutor agreed Wednesday in Androscoggin County Superior Court that Montana had satisfied the terms of the agreement.

Montana withdrew her criminal plea Wednesday and admitted to a civil infraction for her conduct. She agreed to pay a $1,000 fine.

She had shared an Auburn apartment with Michael Cournoyer, 20, in 2006. She let him use her car on the night of Dec. 23 of that year. Cournoyer drove it to a party in Poland. He later left that party with three passengers after drinking.

The Nissan Altima he was driving crossed the center line of Route 122, colliding with another car. That car’s driver, Stephen Walton, 27, and his passenger and fiancée, Laura Caron, 25, both of Poland, were killed. Cournoyer and passengers Robert Bruce, 19, of Auburn and Jacob Roy, 20, and Matthew Manley, 18, both of Lewiston, also were killed.

Police said Cournoyer’s blood-alcohol content was 0.14 percent at the time of the crash, nearly twice the legal driving limit. Alcohol was a factor in the crash, police said.

The grand jury indictment charging Montana was later changed to specify that she let Cournoyer drive her car even though his license had been suspended.


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