July 25, 2013

Wrong turn led to hikers' deadly Maine plunge

The victims, who had just been rescued from a state park, were able to call 911 as their vehicle sank but couldn’t be found in time.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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This ramp leading to the water was obscured by fog Tuesday night when two women died after taking a wrong turn in Roque Bluffs State Park and driving their vehicle into Englishman's Bay.

AP / Lt. Travis Willey, Washington County Sheriff's Department

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See a map of Roque Bluffs State Park

The women were found in the back seat, probably because the van would have sunk front-end first, and the back would have been the last area to fill with water, Smith said. The dog, a pit bull mix, also died.

Smith said it's possible the van's electric windows and automatic door locks stopped working once the minivan was submerged.

Smith said other people have accidentally driven into the ocean at that spot, although never with such tragic results. In those cases, the cars floated for a period of time before sinking, which could explain why the van was found so far from shore, he said. Also, the tide was coming in fast -- low tide was at 6 p.m. -- which would have increased the distance from shore to the van.

The van was hauled out of the water using a cable and a winch. A representative of the Office of the State Medical Examiner was called to confirm the cause of death. Smith said blood tests will be conducted on the bodies, as required in any serious car crash, but he did not suspect alcohol or drugs contributed to the crash.

Stiner, who was originally from Pennsylvania, may have been unfamiliar with the Roque Bluffs area, Smith said. She and her husband, Gregg, were organic farmers. There was no phone number listed for Amy or Gregg Stiner in the Machias area.

Moyer worked as a teacher's aide in the local school district in Pennsylvania. Smith said Moyer's immediate family members -- her Facebook page indicates she has a son -- were headed to Maine on Wednesday.

Other members of Moyer's family in Pennsylvania declined to comment when reached by telephone.

Smith said it's not clear exactly why the pair turned the wrong way on Schoppee Point Road.

"This lady lived on Kennebec Road. She wasn't far from home," Smith said. "I suspect they were cold and wet and just made a mistake."

David Hench can be contacted at 6327 or at:

dhench@pressherald.com

Correction: This story was updated at 3 p.m., July 24, 2013, to state that Amy Stiner of Machias was five months pregnant, and not Melissa Moyer. A previous version of this story had incorrect information supplied by authorities.

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Additional Photos

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Rescue diver Travis Preston, a Jonesboro firefighter, hooks up a tow line to a minivan in the water at the scene of the double fatal accident Tuesday evening in Roque Bluffs.

AP / Lt. Travis Willey, Washington County Sheriff’s Department

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A crew works to recover the vehicle in which two women died after accidentally driving into Englishman's Bay.

Courtesy Washington County Sheriff's Office

 


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