Truck driver admits responsibility in crash that killed Maine detective

Scott Willett, 55, of Patten will not face any jail time, but he will have to pay $15,000 in fines
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 2:13 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - It’s been three years since Maine State Police Detective Ben Campbell was killed in the line of duty.

Campbell was killed when a wheel from a passing logging truck flew off and hit him while he was helping a stranded motorist on Interstate 95 in Hampden.

On Friday, the driver and owner of the truck admitted to motor vehicle violations.

Scott Willett, 55, of Patten will not face any jail time, but he will have to pay $15,000 in fines and have his license suspended for six months.

Willett admitted to one civil count of causing a death by traffic infraction that led to the death of Ben Campbell.

He also admitted to five motor carrier rule violations.

Scott Willett, 55, of Patten will not face any jail time, but he will have to pay a hefty fine...
Scott Willett, 55, of Patten will not face any jail time, but he will have to pay a hefty fine and have his license suspended for six months.(WABI)

Ben Campbell , 31, was on his way to Augusta when he stopped just south of the Coldbrook Road overpass in Hampden to help someone stranded in a snowstorm on April 3rd, 2019.

Willet’s logging truck was approaching Campbell’s cruiser and moved into the left lane to give Campbell some space.

While switching lanes, two wheels came off the truck.

Authorities say the investigation found the outside wheel of the logging truck came off and hit the guardrail behind Campbell’s cruiser and ran along the guardrail, hitting Campbell.

In court, an impact statement was read on behalf of Campbell’s mother, which read in part: “I cannot forgive you. Nothing will bring Ben back. The loss and suffering will forever weigh heavily on my heart.”

Willett himself addressed the court.

“It was an accident that I never would have ever imagined. I just feel so bad myself. I have to deal with this, too, every day. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it,” said Willett.

Assistant District Attorney Chris Almy says this was a difficult and emotional case for all involved.

“The defendant appeared to be remorseful. I think it bothers him about what happened. Ben Campbell died right in front of him, and that’s going to be on his conscience for a long, long time,” he said.

An investigation showed multiple defects were found on Willet’s truck when it was inspected after the crash.

Maine State Police Colonel John Cote said in June of 2019 those defects would have taken the truck out of service immediately.

Campbell joined Maine State Police in 2012. He was promoted to detective in 2016.

He died just days before his 32nd birthday.

He is survived by his wife, Hilary, and their son, Everett, who was just six months old at the time.