Sunday, March 9, 2014
State police confirm brakes failed in fatal fire engine crash
An investigation into the fatal crash at Bangor’s Fourth of July parade confirmed that the antique fire engine that crushed a Holden man lost its braking ability.
The city’s 1930 McCann pumper was being driven by Patrick Heathcote, 29, a Bangor firefighter, with his two daughters on the back.
Wallace Fenlason, 63, was driving a 1941 John Deere tractor ahead of the pumper.
The vehicles were following a makeshift route after the parade had to be detoured because of an armed standoff between police and a suspect.
An accident investigation by Officer Russell Twaddell and a vehicle autopsy assisted by the Maine State Police inspections division confirmed that the brakes on the antique pumper had malfunctioned.
The report, made available Friday, said Fenlason had slowed his antique tractor on the downhill incline of Water Street at the intersection with Main Street and that the pumper “lost its braking ability” and struck the tractor.
The report does not elaborate.
Fenlason was ejected and landed in the road in the path of the pumper, which hit him. He died as a result of a neck injury, according to the report.
Even though the accident report was approved by the state police on Friday, a statement from the Bangor police Saturday said the report posted on the state’s crash report database was a preliminary report, “not substantiated” and does not include the conclusions of the full investigation.
“The complete report into this tragic accident, which includes expert investigations by the Maine State Police, the Bangor Police Departments Accident Reconstruction ... and Criminal Investigations Detective Cliff Worcester, is not finished and should be by mid-week,” said the statement by Sgt. Paul Edwards.
The crash rekindled debate over whether antique vehicles should be subject to annual inspections. Currently they are required to meet basic safety standards but unlike modern vehicles are not subjected to routine annual inspections.
Teen a suspect for several nighttime burglaries
Police say an 18-year-old man is a suspect in several burglaries in the area. Paul Allen Fernald Jr. was arrested Friday on an outstanding warrant on a burglary charge.
Police say items such as jewelry, cash, credit cards and tools have been taken in the burglaries. Entry had been gained mostly through unlocked doors and windows. Most of the burglaries happened at night.
State honors hundreds of Korean War veterans
Hundreds of Korean War veterans were recognized at ceremonies across Maine on Saturday for their service during the war.
An estimated 400 or more veterans received certificates of appreciation from the federal Department of Defense and the state at ceremonies held in Sanford, Rumford, Lewiston, Brunswick and Bangor.
Many also received appreciation medals given by the country of South Korea, said Peter Ogden director of the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services.
Saturday was the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice Agreement marking the end of the three-year war between South Korea and North Korea.
“This is a big day to recognize our Korean War veterans,” Ogden said. “They call it the forgotten war, and this gives us a chance to say thanks.”
About 41,000 Mainers served during the war, but only 13,000 still live in Maine, Ogden said.
“That population is dwindling quickly,” he said.
Gov. Paul LePage earlier this week issued a proclamation declaring July 27 as Maine Korean War Veteran Recognition Day.
First Lady Ann LePage marked the anniversary with a speech at Veterans Memorial Park in Lewiston.
“I am a firm believer that it is every American’s duty to acknowledge the sacrifices made by our military men and women and to thank them, every day, for the freedoms we enjoy,” she said. “Without them, the ‘American way of life’ would not be possible.”
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