LEWISTON — Citing public safety concerns, a judge set a high bail Monday for a Sabattus woman charged with manslaughter stemming from a Saturday crash in Turner.

Amber Smith Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office

Amber Smith, 36, was arrested on Saturday and charged Monday with manslaughter, a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

She also faces felony charges of aggravated criminal operating under the influence and causing a death while license was suspended or revoked. Each of those charges carried a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.

Judge Susan Driscoll set Smith’s bail at $100,000 cash after also expressing concerns about her criminal history, which prosecutors said included failures to appear in court and jail.

Assistant District Attorney Patricia Mador read through a lengthy list of Smith’s criminal convictions dating to 2010 that included of theft, operating under the influence and drug possession.

Among bail conditions Driscoll imposed were no use or possession of alcohol nor illegal drugs for which Smith can be searched and tested if suspected of having or using.


Smith is barred from having any contact with the family of Tina White, 46, of Turner, who was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on Saturday morning.

Androscoggin County Sheriff’s deputies responded at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday to a report of a woman on the ground on County Road, near Fortin Drive, with life-threatening injuries.

White had been walking on the dirt shoulder of the road facing traffic when she was hit from behind, according to county authorities.

Her injuries were consistent with a vehicle hitting her from behind while she was walking, they said.

Turner Fire-Rescue and LifeFlight of Maine treated White at the scene, but she died before she could be transported, authorities said.

Investigators worked through the weekend examining evidence and conducting interviews.


Mador said Monday that Smith is alleged to have been driving impaired when the vehicle she was driving “crossed onto the wrong side of the road and struck and killed a pedestrian who was walking as they should face in traffic.”

She said the case remains under “active investigation” and asked that the affidavit supporting Smith’s arrest be impounded because it includes details of the investigation.

Investigators said Smith was found passed out behind the steering wheel of her vehicle in front of a Turner business on Auburn Road; the vehicle showed damages consistent with the crash.

Criminal defense attorney George Hess, who was appointed Monday by Driscoll to represent Smith, was seeking bail be set at $1,000 cash with supervised release and a curfew or house arrest.

Smith lives with her sister in Sabattus along with Smith’s 15-year-old daughter, Hess said.

She has “no funds or assets,” he said.


Smith has an 11th-grade education and is able to work, though she was unemployed at time of her arrest, Hess said.

“I think a significantly high cash bail is appropriate in this case,” Judge Driscoll said. She said Hess could file a motion for a new bail hearing at a future time.

Smith didn’t enter a plea to the charges Monday because they are felonies.

In order for a criminal case to proceed to trial in Maine, felony charges must be presented to a grand jury for indictment.

Driscoll also said Smith may not operate a motor vehicle unless lawfully licensed to do so.

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