July 17, 2013

Fatal Maine collision now blamed on inattention

The crash involving a pickup and tractor-trailer in New Sharon was thought earlier to involve alcohol.

By MATT HONGOLTZ-HETLING Morning Sentinel

NEW SHARON – Police on Wednesday said driver inattention was the likely cause of a fatal accident in May involving a pickup truck and a tractor-trailer on Route 2.

click image to enlarge

John Pelletier, 62, of New Sharon, was killed when he backed out of his driveway into the path of a tractor-trailer on U.S. Route 2 on Thursday, May 9, 2013.

Contributed photo

At the same time, police rescinded earlier statements that alcohol could have been a factor into the crash.

The collision occurred after John Pelletier, 62, pulled his truck out of his driveway and into the path of a tractor-trailer on May 9. Pelletier was taken to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington after the collision and died the next day.

In the early stages of the investigation, alcohol and a medical condition both were being considered by police as possible factors. Now investigators are "strongly leaning against" the idea that alcohol or a medical condition played a role, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety. McCausland said that shift in investigators' thinking was caused by preliminary information released from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

McCausland said Maine State Police have not completed the final crash report, but that it is now believed driver inattention was the primary cause of the accident.

The unloaded tractor-trailer knocked Pelletier's pickup into a ditch, causing massive damage to the front driver's side of the pickup.

Police said the driver of the tractor-trailer, owned by Phoenix Trucking Co. of Harmony, was not at fault and would not face criminal charges.

 

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be contacted at 861-9287 or at:

mhhetling@centralmaine.com

 

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