FARMINGTON – A person who drinks a lot of liquor in a short time could go into an alcohol-induced blackout and still function, Dr. Brian Rines, a psychologist, testified Tuesday at Ryan Hurd’s manslaughter trial in Franklin County Superior Court.

Hurd, 23, of Lincoln is accused of driving drunk and crashing his car in the early-morning hours of Oct. 17, 2007, on Route 27 in New Vineyard. Terry “T.J.” Richardson Jr., 34, of Dover-Foxcroft died in the crash and Chad Bernier of Medway, who was 30 at the time, suffered serious injuries, as did Hurd, officials said.

Hurd declined to take the stand Tuesday and both sides rested their cases. The jury is expected to hear closing arguments Wednesday before beginning deliberations.

Earlier Tuesday, Rines testified that people who drink too much too fast could lose their short-term memory in an alcohol-induced blackout.

“You will find people do very complicated tasks when they’re blacked out,” said Rines, an expert in the field. “Almost any imaginable behavior can occur during blackout; you just don’t remember that period of time.”

Hurd’s attorney, Richard Hartley, said in his opening argument to jurors on May 12 that his client was “blackout drunk” and didn’t remember all that happened that night.

Hurd had wandered around the accident scene, even talked to neighbors and emergency responders, asking them what was going on, according to testimony. It wasn’t until the car was on fire and Farmington police heard screams for help that they realized there was a person still in Hurd’s Pontiac Grand Prix. It was more than 37 minutes after the accident when they learned there was a second person in the car, according to testimony.

Hurd had been driving his car in the early evening of Oct. 16, 2007, after he, Richardson and Bernier left their construction jobs at the Poland Spring bottling plant in Kingfield, according to testimony. They drank beer and whiskey as they headed to a Farmington bar. They left the bar to return to their Kingfield hotel in the early hours of Oct. 17, 2007, police said.

State police and prosecutors say Hurd was driving his car at 98 mph when it went out of control, hit a pole and a stump and rolled onto its roof before bursting into flames.

Richardson and Bernier were trapped inside. Richardson died in the car and Bernier suffered a broken neck and a broken back. Hurd was ejected from the car and suffered a broken collarbone and a broken leg.

Bernier testified that Richardson was at the wheel when they left the bar, but he switched places with Hurd before the crash.

The two survivors say they don’t remember much more about the crash. In taped police interviews played during the trial, Hurd stated he may have killed his friends and he may have been the driver, and if he was, he didn’t remember.


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