Trial set for May in fatal car crash

  • Maggie Doorlag, 27, of Concord

  • Friends and family gathered for a Celebration of Life memorial for Angelica Lane, in Loudon on Saturday, June 19, 2021. Melissa Curran

Monitor staff
Published: 3/31/2022 4:43:13 PM
Modified: 3/31/2022 4:42:18 PM

Following a more than 18-month delay, a Bow woman will stand trial this spring on negligent homicide and aggravated driving while intoxicated charges after her involvement in a 2019 crash that killed a 22-year-old woman.

The State of New Hampshire vs. Maggie Doorlag’s final pretrial on Thursday resulted in Judge Andrew Schulman setting a tentative trial date of May 23, with juror selection set to take place on May 3 in Concord’s Merrimack Superior Court.

Despite Schulman saying he does not prefer to conduct trial proceedings during the week of Memorial Day because of the three-day break, he mentioned that the already elongated process caused him to make an exception.

Doorlag was arrested the night of the accident in June of 2019 after police say she failed a field sobriety test performed by New Hampshire State Trooper Kenneth McGrath following the crash. The accident resulted in the death of Angelica “Jelly” Lane on Route 106 in Loudon.

According to police, before being rear-ended by Doorlag’s Jeep Cherokee, Lane came to a stop in the northbound lane on Route 106 with the expectation of turning left into her driveway, but was eventually pushed into oncoming southbound traffic after Doorlag failed to stop and Lane’s Lexus collided with an oncoming pickup truck.

The original trial date in Merrimack Superior Court was set for July 11, 2019. Doorlag pleaded not guilty and waived the arraignment on July 10. Pandemic pressures in 2020 continued to delay proceedings. Juror selection was set for September of 2020, which was again delayed as fall saw an increase in COVID-19 cases over that of the summer months. Other factors such as Doorlag’s pregnancy have contributed to the stalling of the judicial process.

“What’s has really been holding this up is COVID-19,” Mark Sisti, Doorlag’s attorney, said. “That has wrecked a lot of what we’ve been doing.”

This past summer, the Lane family recognized the two-year anniversary of Jelly’s death, where they mourned and remembered her endearing quirks and loving nature. While they have prioritized celebrating her life, they want justice for Jelly, and a court date is the first step to accomplishing that in their minds.

“Just own up to it. Just be like ‘OK, I made a mistake, I did this, I am very sorry.’ Serve your jail time,” said Jelly’s cousin, Kayla Morse, in a June interview with the Monitor.

In 2020, after prosecutors heard that she had allegedly bought alcohol, in violation of her 2019 bail conditions, those conditions were modified. Included in the modifications were a requirement to leave her waitressing job immediately after her shift, and a restriction from going anywhere alcohol is served, despite being allowed to work at a restaurant that serves it.

According to multiple court documents, Sisti denied a plea offer made by prosecutors before the original trial date, and was never able to come to a formal agreement.

The trial will feature testimonies by two toxicology experts, two accident reconstruction experts and a forensic pathologist, according to Schulman. All three vehicles involved in the accident will be at the courthouse for accident reconstruction experts to make their case and for jurors to see.

Sisti has stayed consistent with his defense of Doorlag, saying that she is remorseful, and grieves Lane’s death along with her family, but was not culpable for her death.

“We are contesting that she caused the death. We are contesting that she caused the accident, and we are contesting that she was intoxicated,” he said.

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