Court documents: Driver in camp van crash wrote of seizures, joining AABy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent
August 13. 2018 8:58PM
In letters to a Maine court, the man behind the wheel of a van carrying summer camp kids that crashed in Greenland last week revealed that he has epilepsy, suffers from seizures, and had joined Alcoholics Anonymous to “regain a grip” on his life.
As New Hampshire State Police investigators look into the circumstances surrounding Friday’s crash on Interstate 95 that injured 11 children and a camp counselor, court records offer a look into John E. Guy’s past, including convictions for driving to endanger and operating with a suspended license in 2016.
“I really am trying to get out of the court system,” the 21-year-old Kittery, Maine, man wrote in a letter dated Aug. 3 — one week before the crash.
According to New Hampshire State Police, Guy was driving the 2010 GMC Savana transport van when it suddenly veered off the southbound side of I-95 and hit a large tree head-on.
The van was carrying children ages 9-12 on a field trip from the Kittery Community Center SAFE Camp in Maine to Candia Springs Adventure Park in Candia.
Guy, who was also injured in the crash, has been released from the hospital along with the children and the 18-year-old camp counselor, officials said.
In a statement, Kittery Town Manager Kendra Amaral said she has launched a full internal investigation into the crash and that, following protocol, Guy has been placed on leave.
State Police have said they believe Guy may have suffered a medical emergency just before the crash.
State Police Lt. John Hennessey said Monday that the crash remains under investigation by the agency’s Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Unit.
While authorities haven’t elaborated on what the medical problem could have been, Guy wrote in a letter to York, Maine, District Court in December 2016 that he was diagnosed with epilepsy and that he had grand mal seizures that affect his memory. The letter was written after he missed a court date on charges of driving to endanger and operating after suspension.
Guy pleaded guilty to the charges earlier this year; he was accused of criminal negligence for the way he drove a vehicle that endangered another person on Aug. 17, 2016 in Eliot, Maine. He was also driving with a suspended license.
Guy was fined $1,330 in that case. The fines were due on Aug. 21, but in his Aug. 3 letter to the court, he offered reasons why he was requesting an extra 30 days to pay them.
“When I originally filed for an extension I had plans of continuing my employment at Applebee’s as a second job. With a sudden change of plans I decided it was time for me to start attending Alcoholics Anonymous to regain a grip on my life,” he wrote in the letter.
He went on to explain how he works with children at the Kittery Recreation Department, but that he’s not earning enough to live on and pay the fines.
A judge agreed to give him more time.
The Portland Press Herald reported that Guy had another driving to endanger conviction in 2013 when he was 16 and three convictions for driving with a suspended license. The newspaper also reported that he has convictions for violating conditions of his release, has received two speeding tickets, and twice failed to show a valid inspection sticker.
Guy hung up on a reporter from the New Hampshire Union Leader when contacted by phone Monday seeking comment on the crash.