January 9, 2012

Tragedy leaves wake of grief, questions

Families cope after a crash leaves two teens dead and one hospitalized, amid reports of underage drinking.

By Beth Quimby bquimby@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

WEST PARIS — When Jerrold and Tracie Mason went to bed Friday night, they thought their daughter, Rebecca, 16, was asleep in her room downstairs.

click image to enlarge

Jerrold Mason, father of Rebecca Mason, 16, who was killed in a car crash Saturday, is comforted by his mother-in-law, Monda Fahsholtz, at his home in West Paris on Sunday.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Two crosses left by friends at the scene of the crash on Route 219 in West Paris memorialize Logan Dam, 19, of Norway, who also was killed.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

Related headlines

So it was difficult to understand what the police were saying when they knocked on the Masons' door later that night to deliver the news that Rebecca had been killed in a car crash a few miles away, Jerrold Mason said. It wasn't until they saw her footprints in the snow that they realized she had crept out of the house and gotten into a car waiting for her at the end of the driveway.

"She hadn't been in the car for more than 10 minutes" before it crashed, Jerrold Mason said.

The Masons were surrounded by family and friends at their hillside home Sunday as they tried to make sense of Rebecca's death in a crash that left another teenager dead and two other people injured. Maine State Police have determined that the car in which Mason was riding was headed back to a party where underage drinking was taking place.

The driver, Kristina Lowe, 18, of West Paris, had been drinking and was text messaging as the Subaru sedan headed east on Route 219 a little after midnight, state police said. They said the car hit some ice, left the road, vaulted into the air and crashed into trees, killing Mason and Logan Dam, 19, of Norway.

Lowe was in serious condition Sunday night at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Passenger Jacob Skaff, 22, of South Paris suffered a head injury. He left the accident scene on foot and was taken to Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway a few hours later by family members, police said. He was released from the hospital later Saturday.

Police said it wasn't clear whether the four were wearing seat belts.

A candlelight vigil was held Saturday night in West Paris, and by Sunday, a shrine nestled in the hemlocks knocked over by the crash contained bouquets of red roses, wooden crosses and other mementos.

Logan Dam was the son of Deborah Sande and Douglas Dam of Norway. Sande said Logan, her only child, had been living with her nephew and some of his friends in West Paris during the past few months while working as a cook at the Sunday River ski area.

She said he left Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris last year as a senior to work and help her pay bills.

"I couldn't have asked for a better son," she said.

The accident was the topic of conversation in the small western Maine town of 1,700 where Rebecca Mason was known for her bubbly personality and striking looks.

"She was beautiful. She could have been a model," said Doug Bennett of Bryant Pond, a customer at the West Paris General Store.

At the Mason home Sunday, the sheets were turned back on Rebecca Mason's bed. A stack of school papers spilled from a bookbag on her couch. The shelves were lined with rows of fingernail polish bottles.

Cotton-candy-pink walls were covered with posters of Marilyn Monroe and photographs of Rebecca and her friends playing sports. She was a sophomore at the Oxford Hills high school, where she played field hockey, track and other sports.

Rebecca was interested in studying forestry, said her brother, Lyndon, 22. "She was a girly girl who also loved sports and the outdoors," he said.

Her father said that earlier Friday night, Rebecca had gone to visit her grandparents across the street, and returned to talk about how beautiful the night and the moon looked. Then they all went to bed.

(Continued on page 2)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Two teenagers died and a third was critically injured when this Subaru crashed into trees along Route 219 in West Paris shortly after midnight Friday.

Photo courtesy Chuck Blaquiere

click image to enlarge

Flowers and crosses mark the spot on Route 219 in West Paris where two teenagers died and a third was critically injured shortly after midnight Friday.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Rebecca Mason, 16, died in the car crash.

Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)