Saturday, May 18, 2013
PORTLAND — Police are trying to determine what led to a fatal hit-and-run accident before dawn Sunday and why the woman who died was in the street in front of her house, wearing dark clothes.
An autopsy was done Monday on the body of Bonnie Bachelder, 61, of 757 Washington Ave. Police impounded the 2002 Volkswagen Jetta that hit her and are analyzing it to determine what it can tell them about the circumstances of the accident.
The driver of the car, Corey Baker, 27, who lives in the same part of the city, apparently was driving home after a day's work, said Sgt. Troy Bowden, who is leading the investigation.
Baker drove away after the collision and showed up at the police station an hour and a half later. The only explanation he offered for not stopping was that he "panicked," police said. He could not be reached for comment Monday.
Baker had not been arrested Monday, but police were working with prosecutors to determine what charges should be filed.
Baker has no criminal history, according to the State Bureau of Identification, and his driving history includes just a single speeding ticket, for going 72 in a 55 mph zone in April, and one citation, for not wearing his seat belt in 2007.
The crash was reported by a witness less than a minute after it happened. Police continue to look for witnesses or others who might know what Baker, or Bachelder, was doing before the crash. Police asked that anyone with information call 874-8532.
Police are working with the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office to determine what charges to bring against Baker. Leaving the scene of a crash is typically a misdemeanor, but if there is serious injury or death, the crime is a felony.
Had police charged Baker on Sunday, they could have been required to speed up their investigation to finish it before his initial court appearance.
Authorities took blood samples from Baker and Bachelder, which is standard in any investigation of a serious crash, to determine whether alcohol, drugs or medication may have played a role, police said.
Bachelder's death is the latest tragedy for her family.
Her son Robert C. Bachelder, 34, of North Waterboro, a former officer at the Maine Correctional Center, was killed in May 2011 when his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled and pinned him while he was working on it at his home.
Bonnie Bachelder's husband, Robert T. Bachelder, is a former Portland firefighter who was president of the local firefighters union. He is now a detective for the New Orleans Police Department.
Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: