August 14, 2013

Car, driver examined in fatal Maine wharf crash

Police say the cause of the crash that killed a 9-year-old boy and left his mother in critical condition may not be known for days.

By Eric Russell
Staff Writer

PORT CLYDE — Investigators with the Knox County Sheriff's Department continue to probe a car crash Sunday in Port Clyde that killed a Massachusetts boy, but determining exactly what happened could take several days.

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Tim Harris and Joseph Richardi of Port Clyde repairs the damage on Monday to a shop at the scene of a fatal auto pedestrian accident on Sunday at the wharf in Port Clyde.

Carl D. Walsh / Staff Photographer

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"There is a lot of information to retrieve and process," Chief Deputy Tim Carroll said Tuesday. "Questions that we all have are faster asked than answered."

The biggest question is what caused the driver of the car, Cheryl Torgerson, 61, of New York City to lose control of her Infiniti G35 sedan and barrel down a narrow road toward the ferry wharf in the fishing village.

Witnesses have said that Torgerson's car appeared to accelerate even after she struck a parked vehicle and then hit a pedestrian and building just in front of the wharf. Police said her car continued forward and struck six more cars parked on the wharf before hitting members of a family from Cohasset, Mass., who were walking toward the end of the pier to wait for a ferry to Monhegan Island.

Dylan Gold, 9, was treated at the scene by emergency responders but died on the way to a local hospital.

His mother, Allison Gold, 50, and 6-year-old brother, Wyatt, were taken by helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where they were treated for injuries.

Wyatt was released from the hospital on Tuesday, Carroll said. Allison Gold remained in critical condition.

The father, Howard Gold, was in the family's van when the accident occurred and was not harmed.

Howard Gold is a doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where Allison Gold is a nurse.

"Our hearts go out to the Gold family at this time," hospital spokesman Jerry Berger said.

The family had only recently arrived in Maine for a two-week vacation.

Witnesses described a loud series of crashes followed by screams for help.

"I thought a bomb had gone off," said Carol Schulte, who saw the accident from her sister's porch overlooking the harbor. "It was like boom, boom, boom, then this guy started screaming."

There is no indication that Torgerson was impaired at the time of the crash.

The airbag in the Infiniti deployed during the accident, but it's not yet clear exactly when.

While some news reports on Monday suggested that the gas pedal on Torgerson's vehicle was stuck down, Carroll said investigators have not confirmed that.

"A vehicle autopsy is the only way we can determine mechanical failure, and I'm not suggesting anything at this point until all data has been collected," he said.

There has been no significant safety recall for that model of Infiniti sedan.

Torgerson was not injured, but she was hospitalized briefly for shock, police said.

The woman appeared to be familiar with the area and had family nearby.

The first pedestrian who was hit -- Jonathan Coggeshall, 68, of Port Clyde -- was treated for injuries at Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport and was expected to recover.

Attempts to reach him at the hospital on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

Twitter: @PPHEricRussell

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