Man who crashed into house pleads guilty

Receives three-year deferred disposition sentence
By Fran Gonzalez | May 16, 2019
Courtesy of: Belfast Police Department The truck driven by Leonid Richter sticks out of the living room at 27 Condon St., Belfast, July 1, 2018.

Belfast — A man who slammed his pickup truck into a Condon Street home after a high-speed chase July 1, 2018, pleaded guilty on Tuesday at the Waldo Judicial Center.

Officer Lewis Dyer saw the driver, 24-year-old Leonid Richter of Belfast, running a stop sign at Main and Front streets at 1 a.m. last July 1, according to previously published reports. The truck pulled away at a high rate of speed, and Dyer turned on his lights and sirens and followed Richter, who continued down Front Street.

Court documents say Dyer estimated Richter was traveling at a speed of 100 mph on Bayview Street. 

The truck stopped abruptly when it hit the house, Dyer reported at the time. When he pulled up, he said he saw Richter get out of the passenger side of the truck with his hands up.

About 20 minutes earlier, homeowner Stephen Kunkle said he had been sitting in the living room having a nightcap with his son, who was visiting with his wife and children. The house, at 27 Condon St., lies just across from a "T" intersection with Bayview Street in the residential area south of downtown Belfast.

Even though the house sustained an "extremely high amount of damage," according to Dyer's report, everyone was upstairs and no one was injured.

In his victim impact statement, Kunkle said, "Every assessment is if I had been sitting in those chairs longer than I did, I would most likely have been killed. ...I ask that this sentencing be what is necessary to be sure that this is rock bottom for Leo and this is the last incident for him."

Police charged Richter with seven criminal counts: eluding an officer, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, aggravated criminal mischief, operating under the influence, driving to endanger, operating while license suspended or revoked and motor vehicle speeding 30 miles per hour over the speed limit.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Richter pleaded guilty to the charges and received a three-year deferred disposition sentence. If he can meet all of the requirements agreed upon by the Waldo County District Attorney’s Office and his defense attorney, including undergoing substance abuse and mental health treatment, all the charges will be dismissed except for operating under the influence of alcohol with one prior conviction and driving to endanger.

The sentence for those charges would include fines totaling $1,275, a three-year license suspension and 364 days in jail, with all but 100 days suspended, followed by a year of probation and restitution to be determined.

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