A Scarborough man, who used his spare time to help keep his community safe, was killed after a car struck him on Thursday night (Dec. 14).

Jim Durant, 67, died as a result of head injuries on Friday evening (Dec. 15), said Scarborough Police Chief Robert Moulton. Police said Durant was injured after Elizabeth Coughlin, 54, of Gorham, hit him on Dec. 14.

Charges are unlikely to be filed against Coughlin, said Moulton, though the decision is ultimately up to the District Attorney.

Durant, who was a member of the Scarborough Police Department’s Volunteers in Police Service, was helping to direct traffic away from an earlier accident involving a car that hit a house. According to Moulton, Coughlin was making a left hand turn from Running Hill Road onto Route 114 when she struck Durant.

Durant lived in Scarborough with his wife and three children since 1971 and joined the Volunteers in Police Service when it began two years ago. A retired electronics technician who worked at Portland International Jetport, Durant said in a previous interview that as a member of the volunteers in police service, he enjoyed giving back to his community and learning emergency skills he could use to help others.

At the time of that interview in September, Durant was looking forward to a two-month weather emergency response course he hoped to complete by the end of the fall.

Durant and another 11 Scarborough volunteers are a part of a larger program created by President George W. Bush in 2002. After the Sept. 11 attacks put a larger demand on local law enforcement, the volunteer program was created to help take some of the load off officers. Nationwide, there are 1,000 programs with about 80,000 volunteers.

Besides directing traffic, volunteers patrol Scarborough, checking the backs of buildings, making sure doors are locked and other such chores that make them the eyes and ears of the police. They also do community outreach, such as bike helmet and car seat checks.

Jim Durant, who was killed after he was struck by a car while directing traffic, often spends his weekends helping his community. Here, back on Sept. 9, Durant helped fit Alex Bryer with a bike helmet to keep him safe. As a member of the Volunteers in Police Service, Durant often attends community outreach events like September’s helmet check.


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