PORTLAND — Eighteen-year-old Melinda Easter of Raymond has been indicted on several charges, including manslaughter, following a Dec. 5, 2017 crash on River Road in Windham that claimed the life of fifteen-year-old Tyonna Adams of Westbrook.
Easter pleaded not guilty in Cumberland County Superior court on Monday, April 9. She has another court date scheduled for July 5.
Windham Police said after the one-car accident that Easter was driving the vehicle when it left the roadway and struck a tree. Adams was a passenger in the vehicle, and police believed in December that she was sitting in the back seat of the car at the time of the accident.
The crash occurred around 8:30 p.m. on a windy and rainy night near the intersection of River Road and Laskey road. Police said at the time that speed was thought to be a factor in the crash.
Easter and the three other passengers in the car were taken to Maine Medical Center in stable condition, according to police.
The Portland Press Herald reported that members of Adams’ family and friends were in the courtroom Monday but declined to comment to the paper. Easter spoke in court only to say that she understood the charges against her and to plead not guilty.
According to her obituary, Adams was the daughter of Melissa Renae Hair. Her sister, 22-year-old Sasha Williams of Westbrook, was also involved in the crash. Adams’ had two other siblings as well, Darien Williams and Ashani Hair.
Westbrook Superintendent of Schools Dr. Peter Lancia said in December that Adams was a “very nice, very-well liked” student at WHS and she will be “greatly missed.”
Along with the manslaughter charge, the Cumberland Country District Attorney’s Office said that a grand jury has indicted Easter on three charges of driving to endanger, criminal operating under the influence and operating a motor vehicle beyond class restriction.
According to court documents, the three charges of driving to endanger are tied to injuries sustained by the three other passengers in the car: Kerrianna Girardin of Windham, Brittany Freeman of Westbrook, and Williams. At the time of the crash, Girardin was 18, Williams was 22 and Freeman was 20.
Under the operating under the influence charge, court documents allege that Easter “did operate a motor vehicle when under the influence of intoxicants.” The documents do not specify an alleged substance or substances.
The court appointed Neale A. Duffett, a partner at Portland-based firm Cloutier, Conley & Duffett, as Easter’s attorney.
Her bail was set at $1,000 and includes conditions that she not use or possess alcohol or illegal drugs, submit to random search and testing, not operate a motor vehicle, and keep to a curfew between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.
Cars on River Road in Windham round the curve near the intersection of Laskey Road, near the site of a Dec. 5 crash that killed 15-year-old Tyonna Adams of Westbrook.