AUBURN — A judge sentenced a South Paris woman Monday to spend two years of an eight-year prison sentence behind bars after she drove drunk and slammed head-on into another car in Mechanic Falls, seriously injuring the other driver.

Heather Folsom Androscoggin County Jail

Heather Folsom, 37, had pleaded guilty last month to seven charges related to the crash, including aggravated assault, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Her harshest sentence was imposed on that charge.

The crash occurred just before 3:30 p.m. Oct. 14, 2020, near Sawyer Bridge Road at the intersection of Pleasant Street and Lane Road.

Folsom drove a 2016 Volkswagen, which rolled over after the collision. Dennis Berube of Auburn, who was 56 at that time, was driving a 2006 Toyota Avalon southbound when the cars collided.

Assistant District Attorney Patricia Mador told Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice Harold Stewart II that reconstruction experts recovered data from the two vehicles and learned that, at the moment of impact, Folsom’s speed was 89 mph in a 45 mph zone; the accelerator was 100%, meaning her foot was pressed all the way down on the gas pedal.

Folsom’s blood/alcohol level was 0.286 % or higher than three times the legal limit at the time of the crash, Mador said.


Shortly before the crash, Folsom’s car had been reported to police for having passed a tractor-trailer truck on state Route 26 in Poland in the breakdown lane, striking the truck and the guardrail in the process, Mador told the judge.

When rescue crews arrived at the crash scene, they had to cut Berube’s car open to free him from the debris.

He spent 52 days in the hospital, 16 days of that time in a medically induced coma. He underwent six surgeries to reattach his spine to his shattered pelvis and medical procedures aimed at repairing fractured leg bones as well as organ damage.

He was released from rehabilitation in a wheelchair and was walking with a cane in the courtroom Monday.

Folsom pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal operating under the influence, driving to endanger and reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, all felony-level charges, each punishable by up to five years in prison. She also admitted to misdemeanor-level charges of driving to endanger and leaving the scene of an accident.

She will serve shorter sentences on the other charges at the same time as aggravated assault sentence, Stewart ordered. On the drunken driving charge, Folsom will lose her license for six years and was fined $2,100.


Family members of the defendant and victim spoke to the judge, the former seeking leniency in sentencing, the latter seeking the harshest punishment.

Folsom had lost her grandmother and mother before the crash and had begun drinking heavily to self-medicate for the depression she was experiencing, her family members said.

She had no criminal history nor history of driving infractions, her attorney, Allan Lobozzo, told the judge.

Berube told the judge he was traveling on the job as a tax assessor when the crash occurred.

It was after leaving the hospital and “acute” rehabilitation, Berube said, that “I began serving my life sentence.”

A children’s hockey coach for decades leading up to the crash, Berube said he will never skate again and be able to share his passion with others.


“The sense of loss is overwhelming,” he said.

He said he is taking full responsibility for his grueling recovery adhering to a rigorous physical therapy regimen.

Berube said he suffers now from searing pain from nerve damage every night that keep him in agony.

He now works 20 hours a week “because it’s all I can bear,” he said.

“The defendant has had a chance to get her whole life back,” Berube said. “I do not. She may not drink again and her life would then be better. I am only glad about that because that would mean she would not destroy another person’s life.”

Folsom apologized to Berube and his family, adding she didn’t remember 90% of what happened the day of the crash.


“There’s nothing that I could say to you guys that will change the way you feel about me and what happened,” she told the Berube family gathered in the courtroom.

“But I’m not a bad person,” she said. “I’m not criminal. I’ve done everything I can to change the way I was when this happened.”

When she is released from prison, Folsom will be on probation for three years during which time she must not have any alcohol or illegal drugs for which she may be searched and tested at random, Justice Stewart said.

She must undergo substance abuse disorder evaluation and treatment, including an in-patient program if recommended by her probation officer, Steward said.

Folsom may not enter any establishment whose primary purpose is to serve alcohol. She may not drive a motor vehicle ATV or snowmobile, Stewart said.

She must perform 288 hours of community service, Stewart said.

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