PORTLAND

One hurt in three-car crash on I-295 near Tukey’s Bridge

One person was injured and traffic was backed up for more than a mile Monday afternoon after a driver lost control of his vehicle on Interstate 295 southbound in Portland and slammed into the median guardrail, triggering a three-car collision.

State Trooper Marvin Hinkley said the crash, which took place around 3:45 p.m. near Exit 9 just north of Tukey’s Bridge, snarled traffic heading into Portland for about 45 minutes.

The accident happened when 59-year-old John Gordon lost control of his 2000 Ford Escort and hit the guardrail.

The impact forced Gordon’s car back onto the roadway, where it struck a 2007 Chrysler driven by Barbara Stevenson, 65, of Jamesville, Va. A 2000 Honda driven by Briana Henes, 20, of Brunswick then hit the Chrysler.

The passing lane was closed while workers tended to the drivers and cleared away the cars, but one lane remained open. The loss of one lane caused traffic to back up into Falmouth.

Stevenson was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland for treatment of minor injuries. Two vehicles were destroyed in the crash and were towed.

Gordon, whose hometown was not available, will not face any charges, police said.

Pedestrian, 74, hit by car remains in critical condition

The 74-year-old pedestrian hospitalized after he was hit by a car Saturday night was listed in critical condition Monday night at a Portland hospital.

Elliot Burton of Portland was taken to Maine Medical Center following the 6:40 p.m. accident at Forest Avenue and Pitt Street.

Burton was crossing Forest Avenue when he was hit by a northbound 2006 Toyota Camry driven by Lindsay Lathrop, 26, of Falmouth. Lathrop was not injured.

Neither speed nor alcohol was a factor in the crash, which remains under investigation, police said.

Lt. Robert Martin said police had difficulty in their effort to notify Burton’s family about the crash, which delayed their release of his name.

WELLS

Owner charged with arson in fire at his Limington diner

The State Fire Marshal’s Office has arrested a Wells man and charged him with setting fire to his and his wife’s restaurant last month.

Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Karl Maine, 57, was arrested at his home Saturday morning and charged with arson.

Maine is accused of setting the fire that destroyed Jake’s Diner at 179 Ossipee Trail in Limington on Feb. 12.

Limington Fire Chief Michael Hartford said the fire started in the restaurant’s kitchen.

The restaurant has been operated by Maine and his wife, Lynn Maine, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.

The couple posted a message on Facebook last month vowing to rebuild the popular diner despite the lack of insurance.

At the time the fire started – around 5 p.m. – no one was inside.

The restaurant closed at 2 p.m. on the day of the fire.

Maine was being held Monday night at York County Jail in Alfred on $10,000 cash bail.

McCausland said he does not know why Maine allegedly started the fire.

WHITEFIELD

Fire damages school gym, sparks school cancellations

School was out Monday and will continue to be closed Tuesday after an early-morning fire damaged a small part of the Whitefield Elementary School gymnasium floor.

Principal Joshua McNaughton said a custodian was in the gym at the school around 5 a.m. Monday when he heard a light bulb blow, melting the plastic covering around the light and burning an 8-square-foot part of the floor.

He said the custodian, the only person in the school at the time, put the resulting fire out with an extinguisher.

McNaughton said the extent of the damage to the floor is unknown. Officials will meet Tuesday afternoon with insurance claims adjusters to assess the damage.

The principal said holding school Tuesday while closing off the gymnasium is “not a possibility,” as officials want to ensure that the chemicals used to extinguish the fire are cleaned up and alarm systems working properly before bringing children back inside the school.

All other schools in the town’s district – Regional School Unit 12, which is based in Somerville and also serves Alna, Chelsea, Palermo, Windsor, Westport Island and Wiscasset – were open Monday.

LEWISTON

Bates students, city police getting together peacefully

Bates College students and Lewiston police are working together to overcome town-versus-gown tensions.

Groups of Bates students have recently been sitting down over coffee with local police officers. They’ve been playing hockey together and once the weather improves, they’ll be playing softball, too.

Plans are in the works to have Bates students do internships with the Lewiston police.

The gatherings were the idea of Bates sophomore Audrey Zafirson and freshman Andrew Segal, who told the Sun Journal they were bothered by the contentious relationship between students and city police.

Previously, the only time police and students mingled was when a campus party got out of control. Student-police interactions were almost always unpleasant.

Police Chief Michael Bussiere said both sides are benefiting with a better understanding of the other.