PITTSFIELD

Funeral home hearse flips while transporting body

A funeral home hearse that was transporting a body crashed and flipped over ‘three or four times’ Thursday afternoon on Interstate 95 in Pittsfield after its driver apparently fell asleep.

Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said that the hearse, owned by the Jordan-Fernald Funeral Home in Ellsworth, crashed at around 3:30 p.m. in the highway’s northbound lane.

McCausland said the body remained inside the hearse after the crash.

The driver, 55-year-old Michael Kelly of Salisbury Cove, was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

The hearse landed upright after turning over multiple times.

A separate hearse came to the scene to pick up and finish transporting the body.

AUGUSTA

Bill for removing highway signs gets first approval

The Maine House of Representatives has given the first nod to a bill that would remove or relocate dozens of informational signs along the state’s interstate highways.

The Democratic-led House approved the bill 120-23 on Thursday.

It faces further votes in both chambers.

Supporters of the bill say removing signs along the highways for things like colleges, parks and recreational attractions is necessary to conform to federal law.

They say the state risks losing millions in highway funding if it doesn’t comply.

But the bill has drawn fierce opposition from some lawmakers and municipal officials who say the signs are vital to attract visitors and bring in tourism money.

CHESTER

Grandson discovers dead grandma in burning home

The body of a 78-year-old woman was discovered in her home in Chester after a fire Thursday morning.

According to the state Fire Marshal’s Office, the body of Shirley Day was discovered by her grandson, who also lives in the mobile home on Loop Road.

The grandson had left on an errand and returned around 10 a.m. to find the home on fire.

Maine State Police investigators are assisting fire marshals at the scene with the investigation.

Chester is located near Lincoln in Penobscot County.

PAWTUCKET, R.I.

Man wanted for murder charge arrested in Lewiston

A man wanted in connection with a Christmas Eve killing in Rhode Island has been arrested in Maine.

Pawtucket, R.I., police say they apprehended 20-year-old Daquan Watts in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday and took him back to Rhode Island to face a murder charge.

Federal marshals and the Rhode Island State Police helped in the investigation.

Authorities say Watts shot 21-year-old Ryan Almeida at an apartment complex in Pawtucket at about 5 a.m. last Dec. 24. Police haven’t disclosed a motive.

Watts was expected to be arraigned Thursday at Providence District Court.

FREEPORT

Pettengill Farm to host old-time baseball game

Pettengill Farm in Freeport will host a vintage baseball game featuring teams that will play and dress like players from the 1860s.

Dirigo, a Maine-based team with players from all over the state, will play a team from Ipswich, Mass., on June 22.

The Freeport Historical Society will be on hand with beer, hot dogs and an explanation of the rules. An accordion band will also play.

The event will cost $5 for adults and $1 for children.

The historical society asks patrons to bring their own chairs.

ROCKLAND

Hovercraft crews ready for ice-out rescues

Maine agencies that conduct search-and-rescue missions say they are prepared to use a hovercraft on coastal and inland waterways during ice out this spring.

A Department of Marine Resources spokesman says members of the state’s Marine Patrol and Warden Service have trained for two years to use the hovercraft in areas that can be difficult to reach by boat.

The hovercraft glides over obstacles on a cushion of air generated by a large fan.

It was purchased for $78,000 in 2012 with money from the Outdoor Heritage Fund and the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

State marine officials say it will be helpful in operations this spring as snow melts and the risk of flooding rises.