Mother of two convicted of negligent homicide in fatal Loudon crash released on parole

Maggie Doorlag arrives to her sentencing hearing at Merrimack County Superior Court on Friday, October 14, 2022 for the negligent homicide in the death of Angelica Lane in 2019.

Maggie Doorlag arrives to her sentencing hearing at Merrimack County Superior Court on Friday, October 14, 2022 for the negligent homicide in the death of Angelica Lane in 2019. GEOFF FORESTER

Michelle and Chris Lane family and friends back to their home in Loudon after the sentencing hearing for Maggie Doorlag at Superior Court on Friday, October 14, 2022.

Michelle and Chris Lane family and friends back to their home in Loudon after the sentencing hearing for Maggie Doorlag at Superior Court on Friday, October 14, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER

Angelica “Jelly” Lane

Angelica “Jelly” Lane Courtesy

By MICHAELA TOWFIGHI

Monitor staff

Published: 04-18-2024 6:11 PM

Modified: 04-18-2024 7:14 PM


Maggie Doorlag said she could picture her life outside the walls of the women’s prison, where she’d spent the last 17 months. She’d be reunited with her husband and two young daughters. She would get her cosmetology license and continue with counseling.

The three members of the state’s parole board listened as she described her character and feelings of remorse for causing the fatal crash. She admitted she was nervous.

Her husband watched as she entered in a red long-sleeve shirt and gray pants with her hair straightened. Next to him, sat the family of Angelica Lane, who was killed while trying to pull into her driveway in the summer of 2019.

On the night Doorlag rear-ended Angelica Lane’s car into oncoming traffic, she was a recovering drug addict. She’d recently relapsed and was caring for her daughter as a single mom. After her morning shift at Makris Lobster & Steak House, she clocked out late in the afternoon and the bartender poured her a Washington Apple – Crown Royal whiskey, with apple schnapps and cranberry juice. She drank two before carrying on to the Hungry Buffalo on Route 106 for a third drink. She then got behind the wheel, she said Thursday.

“It’s awful,” she said, pushing her glasses atop her head to wipe back tears. “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever done.”

Doorlag made her case to the New Hampshire Adult Parole Board Thursday in hopes of reducing her punishment for negligent homicide. She had served 17 months of her two to six-year sentence.

The state parole board granted her request.

Michelle Lane, Angelica’s mother, had one word for Doorlag’s original sentencing: lucky.

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“You’re so lucky,” she said, standing up from the bench with her hands against the wooden barrier, speaking directly to Doorlag. “Why can’t you just do the two years?”

She pleaded for Doorlag to tell the truth. While she attested to the parole board she had three drinks that night before getting behind the wheel, the Lane family believes she had more. She also violated her bail in 2020, after buying beer from a Cumberland Farms gas station. A civil lawsuit filed by the Lanes remains ongoing.

Before deciding on parole, Ronald Bessette, the vice chair of the board, asked Doorlag to explain her rationale for the request. She’d completed the Focus Unit Program for substance abuse treatment. She has support from her parents, husband and in-laws. She wants to complete counseling and has a plan for relapse prevention, she said.

“I am truly sorry,” she said. “I truly am sorry.”

“Who was the victim in the car?” Bessette asked.

“Angelica Lane,” Doorlag replied.

Chris Lane let out a sob at the sound of his daughter’s name.

The reality was that the Lane family waited longer to see Angelica’s name brought to justice than the time Doorlag will spend behind bars.

Doorlag will be released on the conditions that she maintains a no-contact order with the Lane family, does not seek employment at a restaurant or bar that serves alcohol, follows substance abuse and mental health treatment plans and is subject to 90 days of intensive watch, where she is required to physically check in with a parole officer. She will be unable to drive until the Department of Motor Vehicles reinstates her license. 

It was the worst thing she, her family and the Lanes have had to go through, Doorlag said in her retelling of the events. But the Lane family didn’t need a reminder. June 23, 2019 is a night no one in their family will forget. 

Angelica Lane was driving home in the northbound lane on Route 106 in Loudon, with her left turn signal on to turn into her driveway. She’d just finished a shift delivering pizzas, in an attempt to put down weekly payments towards the car payment for the new black Lexus she bought. 

She died at the base of the driveway of her family home, where her father Chris had grown up and sister Samantha lived too, in an apartment on the property. Her parents had been married on the front lawn and cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents often gathered there for birthdays and graduations. 

The Lane family waited three years for a trial as delays were common throughout the pandemic. During that time Doorlag got married and had another daughter. 

That’s what upsets Samantha – “Jelly’s big sister” as she introduced herself – the most. 

“My sister will never be able to get married and have a baby,” she said in a victim statement during the parole hearing. “Maggie Doorlag made that decision for my sister.” 

She wanted the board to deny her request for early release.

“If you feel so awful, how about you finish out the sentence that was agreed upon,” she said. 

After the board’s questioning, victim testimony and explanation of parole conditions, the board members turned to their Dell laptops to confer in an online chat.

Michelle Lane kept her head down and fiddled with the blue packet of tissues given to their family. Doorlag looked to the ceiling, taking deep sighs as the keyboard clicks of the parole board broke the silence.

In a room with a capacity of 20 people, other family members of the Lane’s waited out front in the lobby. They were allowed to bring nine guests into the hearing, after Doorlag’s three family members took their seats on the reserved benches inside, too.

As the parole board granted Doorlag’s request, Samantha Lane shook her head. Any faith, albeit slim, she had in the state’s justice system was now out the window. Doorlag’s conditions were read aloud twice. She had no questions.

Bessette wished Doorlag good luck as she mustered out a “thank you.”

Michelle Lane shook her head back and forth. Their house was full of everyday reminders of the life they lost – there’s the painted rock for Jelly in the yard and her favorite spot to drink coffee on the porch out front. In a Tupperware in the living room cabinet, there are pieces of the driveway from the spot where she died.

Now Doorlag would walk free. The Lanes left the hearing room in silence.

In the lobby of the prison, family members left waiting were told the news. The victim services unit, the support from the Department of Corrections for families post-conviction, explained the terms of the parole again. If they wanted to see change, legislative action would be the best way forward, they said. Beth and Chris Shaw, who worked to change state law after their son Tyler was killed in a drunk driving accident, could be an incredible resource, they suggested.

Yes, the Lanes know. They’ve befriended the Shaws in the last few years, bonded over something few parents understand.

Outside the women’s prison, Samantha’s face was red with rage. Ignited was an immediate response to do something, say something, change something, anything, to protect others from feeling her family’s pain – waiting years for a trial to happen, only to watch the agreed time end early.

We need to write to the state, she told her family. They need to call on the legislature to change sentencing laws, she continued.

“There’s no remorse whatsoever,” she said. “Not from the state, not from the system. No remorse whatsoever.”

The Lanes pilled into their cars to make the drive back to Loudon. Now, there was an added turn lane on Route 106 at the bottom of their driveway where the crash occurred. The family still gathers at the house for events, the anniversary of Jelly’s death in June a new celebration coupled with her birthday earlier that month. On the lawn, they set off fireworks and invite friends and family over.

Doorlag knows if she hadn’t gotten behind the wheel that night, that would have been for the better. She tried to save money that night, not spending her day’s earnings on a cab home. It’s easy to say she shouldn’t have done it. In front of the Lanes, in front of the parole board, her husband and family, she said it one more time – she should have paid the price for a cab, instead of costing Angelica her life.

“I should have done it anyway,” she said. “It’s absolutely something I will sit with my whole life.”