SANFORD

Infant critically burned in ‘freak accident’ at fire pit

An infant in Sanford was critically burned when the father’s clothing caught fire in what authorities are calling a freak accident.

Dirk Jelsing, 43, was holding his 14-day-old baby, Cullum, when the father’s coat was ignited by sparks from an outdoor fire pit, according to Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland. Jelsing had been sitting on a couch near the fire pit at 10:30 p.m., holding his 2-year-old son as well as the baby.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the incident.

Jelsing had been drinking but authorities have not determined whether that was a factor in the incident, McCausland said.

Cullum Jelsing suffered second- and third-degree burns. He was taken to Sanford Medical Center in Sanford, then transferred to Shriner’s Hospital in Boston.

The father and 2-year-old sustained minor burns, McCausland said.

Once investigators complete their inquiry, the information will be presented to the York County District Attorney’s Office for possible charges, he said.

The Department of Health and Human Services responded and placed the 2-year-old with other relatives, McCausland said.

PORTLAND

Police seek two men who held up grocer at gunpoint

Portland police are investigating a robbery that occurred Wednesday night outside the Ahram Halal Grocery at 630 Forest Ave.

The store’s owner was closing at 11 p.m. and walked to a nearby trash bin in the rear parking lot when he was confronted by two men. He said both pointed guns at him and demanded his wallet, police said.

One of the men was 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-9 with a dark mask over his face and a brown jacket with the hood up, police said. They did not provide a description of the second suspect.

The men then ran toward Deering Avenue with items stolen from the victim, police said. They did not say what was stolen.

Police asked that anyone with information call them at 874-8533.

MEXICO

Medical problem suspected in crash that killed cabbie

Police say a pre-existing medical condition may be to blame for a fiery car crash in Mexico that killed a cab driver.

Police say 62-year-old Gary McGuire of Rumford, an employee of Mountain Valley Taxi Service, was traveling west on Route 2 at approximately 1 a.m. Wednesday when his car veered into the breakdown lane, struck an embankment and flipped onto its roof.

The car was registered to the cab company but there were no passengers.

The car was in flames by the time emergency crews arrived and the unconscious McGuire was trapped inside.

He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Although the accident remains under investigation, police said a medical condition may have been a factor.

YARMOUTH

Woman taken to Maine Med after one-car Route 1 crash

A woman who lost control of her car Thursday night and crashed into a stand of trees on Route 1 was transported by ambulance to Maine Medical Center with unknown injuries.

A dispatcher for the Yarmouth Police Department said the accident, which involved one vehicle, took place around 7:40 p.m. near the Pat’s Pizza restaurant.

The identity of the woman, who was alone in her car, had not been released late Thursday.

Library fundraising drive ends, renovations underway

Yarmouth’s Merrill Memorial Library has completed a yearlong $1 million fundraising campaign to support its renovation and expansion.

The money raised from the community is being combined with $1.5 million from a bond issue Yarmouth voters approved overwhelmingly last June.

Gro Flatebo, who led the fundraising campaign, said in a written announcement this week that the project will allow the 108-year-old library to meet the changing needs of the community.

The renovations will include a new entrance where people can gather, public programming space, tutoring space and a quiet reading room. The project also will bring the building up to modern codes by replacing original knob-and-tube wiring, installing a sprinkler system and building new bathrooms. Construction is underway and is scheduled to be finished by October 2014.

Meanwhile, the library is operating in a temporary location at 65 Forest Falls Drive in the Cascon Pump Co. building.

More than 600 families donated to the project. Gifts ranged from $9 to $100,000. The business community donated more than $110,000 and private foundations contributed over $110,000.

BOSTON

Three rescued as sailboat sinks 1,200 miles out to sea

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a trio of French septuagenarians from their sinking sailboat 1,200 miles off the coast of New England on Thursday.

The Coast Guard’s Boston station received notice at 6 a.m. that an emergency position-indicating beacon had been activated. The beacon was registered to a 42-foot sailboat, Tao, with three people on board.

A Coast Guard Hercules, a long-range surveillance aircraft in Nova Scotia, responded, as did the State of Maine, Maine Maritime Academy’s 500-foot training vessel; the motor vessel Mol Maxim; and a Spanish fishing boat, Robero.

One of the rescued men is 72 years old; the other two are 79.

The Hercules found the vessel at 11 a.m. and dropped marking flares, a life raft and a radio to the sailboat, which was taking on water and capsizing.

The men abandoned the boat and climbed into the life raft, the Coast Guard said.

For the next three hours the men waited in seas of 10 to 12 feet with 33-knot winds, the Coast Guard said.

The Robero was the first boat to arrive and the men were able to climb on board.

“This rescue demonstrates the strong bond between mariners on the open ocean,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Joaquin Alayola, a search-and-rescue coordinator at the 1st Coast Guard District command center. “The Robero’s crew proved that mariners from any nation can unite to help save lives in a distress situation.”

The Robero was planning to transfer the sailors to the 300-foot, Spanish-flagged hospital ship Esperanza for evaluation and to make further travel arrangements.

The Coast Guard was unable to say where the Tao had set out from and what its destination was, in part because of the language barrier between the men and the fishing boat’s crew.

PARIS

Woman charged in 2012 fatal crash goes to trial

A West Paris woman went to trial Thursday on charges that she was driving drunk and reading a text message when her car crashed in West Paris, killing two teenage passengers in 2012.

Prosecutors in the manslaughter trial of 21-year-old Kristina Lowe said in Oxford County Superior Court on Thursday that Lowe also had traces of marijuana in her system.

Lowe’s attorney said her client’s blood-alcohol content was below the legal limit.

Prosecutors say Lowe, then 18, was on Route 219 just after midnight on Jan. 7, 2012, when she crashed. Two passengers, 19-year-old Logan Dam and 16-year-old Rebecca Mason, died. Lowe and another passenger were injured.

Lowe’s attorney has said his client is innocent, but told media he will not speak to the press during the trial.

Eight women and seven men were selected Wednesday to serve on the jury.