November 30, 2012

Dexter man fined $1,500 for accident that killed 12-year-old

Charles Willey, 54, says he is haunted by the Aug. 17, 2011 accident

By Kaitlin Schroeder
Staff Writer

FARMINGTON -- A Dexter man was ordered Friday to pay a $1,500 fine for crashing his truck into a van, killing a 12-year-old girl from Connecticut.

click image to enlarge

Emergency responders are seen at a fatal crash on Aug. 17, 2011 in Farmington. Charles Willey, 54, of Dexter, was fined $1,500 on Friday, on a civil charge of causing the death of a person while committing a traffic infraction, at Franklin County Superior Court.

Staff file photo by David Robinson

Charles Willey, 54, was fined by Justice Michaela Murphy in Franklin County Superior Court for the civil charge of causing the death of a person while committing a traffic infraction. The maximum penalty was $5,000 and could have included a license suspension of up to four years.

Willey was driving a tractor-trailer Aug. 17, 2011, on U.S. Route 2 in Farmington when his tractor-trailer and its load of sawdust hit the rear of a minivan, killing Tess Meisel. The YMCA van was full of young campers heading to Vermont.

Thomas Marjerison, Willey's lawyer, said he was going a maximum of 7 mph over the speed limit.

In court, Willey said he felt haunted by the accident.

"I live with it every hour of every day. I don't know how it happened," he said.

In June, Willey lost his appeal against his three-year license suspension for his involvement in the accident.

Marjerison said because of this, Willey has lost his job driving a tractor-trailer and has been unable to find work since the crash.

Meisel's mother, Suzanne Tanner, was not at the hearing. District Attorney Jim Andrews said she was notified and the hearing was scheduled for a time she was able to attend.

Kaitlin Schroeder -- 861-9252


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