PARIS — Maine State Police Detective Lauren Edstrom testified at a mistrial hearing Tuesday that she was alone in a separate room interviewing driver Kristina Lowe hours after a high-speed crash that killed two West Paris teens in 2012.

Edstrom told Lowe’s attorney, Chelsea Peters, no mention of the accident was made prior to her parents, Earl Lowe and Melissa Stanley, leaving the hospital room. 

Edstrom’s testimony appears to contradict Earl Lowe’s account that he overheard his daughter tell Edstrom she had received a text while driving. 

Apparent ambiguities in Earl Lowe’s testimony at trial are part of the defense’s arguments that Active-Retired Justice Robert Clifford should declare a new trial or acquit Lowe of the charges.

In May, a jury convicted Lowe, 21, of Oxford on two counts of manslaughter and one count of leaving the scene of an accident following a crash on Route 219 that killed Rebecca Mason, 16, and Logan Dam, 19, both of West Paris.

Because of a scheduling conflict, Edstrom was called to testify in Oxford County Superior Court before the bulk of the mistrial hearing, which will take place on July 31. 

Clifford overruled the state’s objection that the mistrial hearing was without merit, saying the motion falls well within the bounds of post-trial proceedings. 

Edstrom testified for 15 minutes Tuesday afternoon in a courtroom that was sparsely filled compared to the packed house during the trial. Logan Dam’s mother, Deb Sande, attended. 

Her testimony appears to contradict Earl Lowe’s story that he overheard his daughter tell Edstrom she had received a text while driving. 

Apparent ambiguities in Earl Lowe’s testimony at his daughter’s trial are part of the defense’s arguments that Clifford should declare a new trial or acquit Lowe of the charges.

Edstrom said she had little prior knowledge of the details of the accident before she arrived at Maine Medical Center in Portland. After being greeted by Maine State Police Sgt. Robert Burke, she was shown to the trauma room where doctors and nurses were treating Lowe.

Edstrom said she asked Lowe’s mother, Melissa Stanely, to leave during the interview with her daughter, and made no mention of Earl Lowe’s presence in the room. No other topics were broached with Stanley, Edstrom said. 

After she left the room, Edstrom was left alone with Lowe, Sgt. Burke, nurses and some doctors, she said. Edstrom did not recall discussing anything with Lowe prior to asking to record their exchange. 

A taped 34-minute audio recording of the interview was played for the jury during the trial. In it, Lowe admitted to drinking two shots of Jagermeister, but initially denied driving the car at the time of the crash, telling Edstrom more than a dozen times that 24-year-old Jacob Skaff of Paris was driving.

After informing Lowe of Dam’s and Mason’s deaths, Lowe wavered on that point when Edstrom pressed her, saying she and Skaff may have switched drivers when they stopped for gas and cigarettes at The Big Apple in West Paris minutes before the accident.

Edstrom also testified Lowe told her she had received a text and Dam had extended his hand to correct the direction of the car just before the crash.

After turning off the tape recorder, Edstrom said she left the room to speak with Kristina’s parents, who were waiting in a separate room. After collecting their contact information, Edstrom said she relayed the details of their interview.  

“I knew they were going to go in there and talk to her. She was upset and I wanted her family to know what they were walking into,” Edstrom said. 

In a brief cross examination, Assistant District Attorney Joseph O’Connor asked if Edstrom, who also testified at a hearing to suppress a portion of the tape and during the trial, was telling the truth. Edstrom replied she was.

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