Sep. 23—A 22-year-old Naples man was indicted this week on manslaughter, operating under the influence and other charges after police allege he was intoxicated when he crashed his pickup truck last spring, killing a 22-year-old relative who was visiting from Pennsylvania.
Police say Chase Weese was out at a Naples bar on March 6 and had consumed multiple drinks before he got behind the wheel of his Chevy 1500 pickup with three other people in the car, court records show.
In the front passenger seat was 22-year-old Ashley Gentile-Wing, of New Kensington, Pennsylvania. She died after Weese lost control along a curve on Lambs Mill Road in Naples, crashing into a stand of trees.
Two other passengers were in the truck with Gentile-Wing — her boyfriend and his sister, Gentile-Wing's mother, Diana Gentile, said in a phone interview on Thursday.
Before he lost control, the passengers begged Weese to slow down, said Gentile, 49, who's also from New Kensington.
Weese was Gentile-Wing's cousin on her father's side, but had only met her a few times before, Gentile said.
Gentile-Wing was in Maine visiting her boyfriend during spring break from Penn State University, where she was on track to graduate in the spring with a degree in construction management. Her boyfriend, who was a couple of years ahead of her in school, was hired as a mechanical engineer in Maine. Gentile-Wing had arranged an internship locally and planned to spend the summer with him.
Police told Gentile-Wing's family that Weese's truck reached speeds of 77 mph before spinning out along a right-hand curve and crashing into some trees. The first officers on the scene found the truck on its side, the passenger compartment crushed and all occupants trapped inside.
"In the car, she was yelling, like, begging the driver to stop driving the way he was, to stop speeding and slamming on the brakes," Gentile said.
Weese was cut from the wreckage and flown by LifeFlight helicopter to Maine Medical Center. Gentile-Wing died instantly, her mother said.
Weese now faces one count each of manslaughter, felony OUI, felony driving to endanger, felony reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, and misdemeanor driving to endanger. His arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 17 in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court.
In an interview with investigators, one of the surviving passengers said the group had gone out to Gary's Tavern in Naples around 6 p.m. and left after 11 p.m., according to information in a search warrant affidavit. Weese was drinking Vodka-Red Bulls that night, a passenger later told police. As he was being extracted from the car, Weese told a firefighter that he was also an occasional cocaine user but it's not clear if he had consumed any that night.
Before the crash, Weese had been driving "playfully," one passenger told police, according to the affidavit. His driving was scaring Gentile-Wing, the passenger said, and she shut her eyes in fear as he sped along.
After the crash, when a sheriff's deputy went to the hospital to oversee the collection of Weese's blood for drug and alcohol testing, Weese admitted that he had been drinking, the affidavit says.
Weese did not respond to a request for an interview sent via Facebook on Thursday. His father, William Weese, declined to comment and would not identify the attorney representing his son.
"Follow the case," Weese said. "I'm not going to give you any information."
Chase Weese has no prior criminal history in Maine.
In a phone interview, Diana Gentile said her family has been torn apart by her daughter's death. Gentile said she raised Ashley since 2001 with the help of her parents in Pennsylvania after she fled a bad marriage to Ashley's father.
Ashley's grandfather was like a father figure to her, Gentile said. It was a cherished relationship on both sides. Her father owned a trucking business, and Ashley grew up going to work with him and learning about the trade. She was adventurous and kind-hearted, and loved animals, especially horses, Gentile said.
After she rode her first horse in Ireland around age 10, Ashley begged her family for a horse. They eventually relented, and during middle school and high school Ashley took up riding and barrel racing. During college, she became a riding instructor and was in the process of training a new, young horse when she died.
Gentile said her daughter was precocious from a young age and wanted to learn how to do everything. She learned early on how to operate construction machinery and took an interest in architecture, building and design. She followed that path in college and earned an associate's degree in architecture and was on track to finish her bachelor's degree in construction management.
Diana Gentile accepted both degrees posthumously, she said.
"She could rock a gorgeous gown, she could operate backhoes and heavy equipment," Gentile said. As she grew into a young adult, she and her daughter had become best friends.
"I think it was the reason people have children, the kind of relationship she and I had," she said. "She was such a big part of our family. It's a massive loss. There's a gaping hole that we're all feeling."