Homicide charges follow triple fatal
November 24, 2009
LANCASTER — Diane Silsby of Lunenburg, Vt., has been charged with causing the deaths of three people as a result of a July crash in Randolph.
The 41-year-old Ms. Silby, who was driving a 2007 Nissan Altima in a two-vehicle head-on crash on July 3, was indicted by a Grand Jury on six counts of negligent homicide on Monday, Nov. 16.
At the time of the accident, New Hampshire State Police said that neither alcohol and drugs, nor road and weather conditions appeared to have been factors in the accident. Those facts have changed according to the indictment.
Ms. Silsby was indicted on three counts of a Class A felony: for causing the deaths while driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor; and three counts of a Class B felony, for driving across a double yellow line.
Ms. Silsby is being charged on two counts of negligent homicide in each of the three deaths: that of her 15-year-old daughter, Nicole Silsby, a minor who is identified in court documents only by her initials, NLS, and her date of birth, April 25, 1994; her 83-year-old mother, Leona Dunn of Lancaster; and a 26-year-old woman, Rachel Metivier of Lewiston, Me., a passenger in the 2000 Ford Explorer vehicle driven by Christopher Caron, 27, also of Lewiston, Me.
Each of the two Maine residents had a child who survived the crash: a then-three-year-old girl who is Mr. Caron's daughter; and a then-six-year-old boy who is Ms. Metiver's son.
If found guilty, Ms. Silsby could receive sentences of from 7½ to 15 years on each of the Class A felonies which could be imposed either as consecutive sentences or concurrent sentences, depending on the discretion of the judge, explained County Attorney Robert MeKeel.
Sentences for Class B felonies run from 3½ to 7 years and could similarly be imposed either as consecutive or concurrent sentences, he said.
The charges are not alternate to each other, so Ms. Silsby could be found guilty of all six counts and faces a maximum sentence of 33 to 66 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Ms. Silsby's arraignment is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, December 7.
She will then be formally notified of the charges or could choose to waive that right. Typically, the County Attorney said, bail is set that day.
Based on the current schedule, Mr. Mekeel explained, March is the earliest the case would likely be heard in Superior Court.
The collision occurred shortly before 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon at the start of the July 4 weekend, near the height of land at Bowman, about a mile west of the Lowe's Gas Station on Route 2.
Ms. Silsby was seriously injured and airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon by a DHART helicopter. The State Police did not release the youngsters' names. The Silsby family moved to Lunenburg from New York on Monday, June 29, following completion of Jason Silsby's military career, according to family friends. Nicole was to have attended St. Johnsbury Academy as a sophomore this fall. Her older brother was slated to enter Norwich University in September.
Mrs. Dunn was the mother of 14 children, including Mrs. Silsby.
At the time of the accident, the skies were partly cloudy and the highway dry. Torrential rains fell, however, about half-an-hour or so after the accident took place.
Both drivers were injured in the crash. Ms. Silsby, who was described as seriously injured, was airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, and Mr. Caron was taken to the Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin. Mr. Caron's daughter was also treated at AVH.