ROCHESTER — A Barrington man was charged Tuesday with four counts of negligent homicide — two for each victim — in a head-on crash that claimed the life of a Maine minister and his wife on their way home from a religious retreat.
John Shaw, 48, is being held on $25,000 cash bail. State police say his westbound 2002 Ford Ranger crossed the center line and struck an oncoming 2007 Ford Edge on Route 202 Saturday at 11:35 p.m.
Joel McLain, 77, who served as a pastor at Victory Chapel Church in Biddeford for three decades, died at the scene, while his wife and passenger, Maxine McLain, 77, died later at Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester.
Shaw, who suffered serious injuries after he was thrown from his truck, was also transported to Frisbie.
During Shaw’s arraignment in Rochester District Court Tuesday morning, a judge entered no plea to the four felony charges while the state decided not to prosecute two counts of aggravated driving while intoxicated, according to court records.
After reviewing the case, Strafford County Attorney Thomas Velardi said the DWI charges were upgraded to negligent homicide, which could be a result of Shaw allegedly causing the fatal accident or being an impaired driver.
“It is alternate theories of the same collision,” Velardi said, adding the state will decide which charge or charges to pursue and a jury will weigh the matter based on the evidence.
The McLains, who were married in 2012, were returning from a week-long retreat in Canterbury.
“We’re so sad and upset, but on the other hand, we’re joyful because we know where they are — they’re in heaven,” family member Alberta Vance told Maine’s WMTW News 8.
Shaw, who is being held at Strafford County Jail, is scheduled to appear at a probable cause hearing Sept. 12 at 1 p.m.
The investigation into the crash is being handled by Trooper Thomas Conlon of New Hampshire State Police Troop A in conjunction with the Strafford County Attorney’s Office.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Conlon at Troop A, 223-8490.