Unity man serves two years in prison for fatal Fourth of July crash
A Unity man received a mostly suspended prison sentence for his role in a fatal crash in Thorndike more than three years ago.
Alvaro Soares, 31, was sentenced to 12 years in prison with all but two years suspended, to be followed by four years of probation. His license is also suspended for two years.
Charges of operating under the influence and reckless conduct were dismissed.
A manslaughter charge was filed against Soares following a single-vehicle crash in Thorndike Village July 4, 2013. On that day, at 7:20 p.m., Soares was traveling south on Route 220 in a 1998 Nissan 200XS. As he was approaching the “village” area of town, a witness told police Soares passed his vehicle at a very high rate of speed. The witness told police he was driving about 60 mph at the time Soares passed him, according to court documents.
A short time later, the witness came upon the wreckage of the vehicle between two broken utility poles. A badly injured woman, later identified as Kelley Soares, of Cranston, R.I., was extricated from the vehicle. Passenger Oscar Tizon Brito, 23, of Providence, R.I. was dead.
It took emergency personnel two hours to pull Alvaro Soares from the vehicle, court documents state. A blood sample taken from him about 3 ½ hours later at 11 p.m. determined he had a blood alcohol content of 0.07 percent, court documents state.
Both Soareses were taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center by LifeFlight helicopter. Kelley Soares suffered a fractured skull, numerous face and jaw fractures, several rib fractures, pelvic fractures and a lacerated spleen, which was removed.
Court documents do not specify the severity of Alvaro Soares' injuries.
The crash was reconstructed by Deputy Benjamin Seekins who determined the vehicle was traveling 98 mph in a posted 30 mph zone. His investigation also determined the vehicle turned counter-clockwise and slid along a guardrail as the vehicle rounded a corner. At the end of the guardrail, the vehicle rotated further, left the road and struck a parked trailer.
It is believed the impact with the trailer killed Brito. The vehicle then struck two utility poles, according to court documents.
Prior to the crash, all three occupants had attended a birthday barbecue at the home of Soares' uncle. While there, witnesses said liquor was consumed, but no one appeared to be under the influence. Alvaro, Kelley and Brito then left the party to go to a club. Along the way, the three stopped and purchased a six-pack of hard cider. Shattered bottles of hard cider were found in the wreckage of the vehicle. One bottle was found unbroken and empty, court documents state, leading investigators to believe it was consumed at some point prior to the crash. However, it could not be determined who consumed the beverage.
In victim impact statements, Brito's mother and aunt said family members have struggled with Brito's death. A native of Peru, Brito was “like a second son” in the Peruvian community, his aunt wrote in her statement. Brito's mother said a constant pain has overtaken her and that her days and nights are empty without her son.
Several people wrote letters in support of Soares, characterizing him as a good man who was prepared to accept the consequences of his actions.
Soares was initially going to be placed on probation for six years but that period was reduced to four years. He has since been released from prison, according to court documents.
The terms of Soares' probation state he must submit to random searches and testing for drugs and alcohol. He also must complete substance abuse counseling and is prohibited from operating any motor vehicle until he is properly licensed by the secretary of state.
Court documents state that prior to the July 2013 crash, Soares' record in Maine contained only two speeding violations, which occurred in 2007 and 2008.