SOUTH PARIS — A Woodstock driver charged with manslaughter in the death of a Norway man last year is seeking to have evidence thrown because of alleged illegal search warrants.

Ethan John Rioux-Poulios

Police said Ethan John Rioux-Poulios, 23, fled the scene of a May 20, 2019, crash on Route 26 in Woodstock that killed John Pikiell, 70, who was driving a 2015 Subaru Outback.

According to a police affidavit, Rioux-Poulios was speeding on Route 26 when the silver 2005 Mercury Montego sedan he was driving rear-ended Pikiell’s car.

An Oxford County Sheriff’s deputy said he clocked the Mercury at 87 mph in a 55 mph zone after it passed him northbound on Route 26 that day. The deputy said he lost sight of the car after reversing direction.

The deputy came upon an accident at which a witness said she had seen a silver sedan hit the Subaru from behind, forcing it off the road, where it flipped onto its roof. Piekiell was pronounced dead at the scene.

A county deputy recovered debris at the scene that, according to a police database, matched the make and model of the car Rioux-Poulios had been driving.

In the motion to suppress evidence filed in Oxford County Superior Court in Paris earlier this month, attorneys for Rioux-Poulios argued that police arrested him, searched his family’s home and seized items from it, including the damaged car, without a proper warrant.

They also wrote that police unconstitutionally searched his phone and used tracking information from it on which to base subsequent warrants, rendering those warrants invalid.

Lewiston defense attorneys James Howaniec and Jesse James Ian Archer wrote in their motion that the deputy’s radar clocked “a silver car” at 87 mph, but identified it as a Nissan Altima, a much more common make and model of four-door sedan than a Mercury Montego.

The witness at the scene who told police she had witnessed the crash could only identify the offending vehicle as a silver sedan, the attorneys wrote in their motion. Silver and gray cars comprise one-third of all vehicle colors in America, they wrote.

Neither she nor the deputy could identify the sex, age, race or number of people in the silver sedan, according to the motion.

Rioux-Poulios remains at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset in lieu of bail.


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