Local man dies after pickup veers off I-295 and hits tree

A Topsham man died Monday after his pickup truck went off Interstate 295 and hit a tree.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police, identified the victim as 65-year-old Edwin Hull.

Hull was driving south in Topsham, near the Bowdoin town line, when his Ford F-150 pickup truck went off the highway and hit a tree. Two passers-by pulled Hull from the wreckage before the truck burst into flames.

Hull died at Maine Medical Center in Portland after being taken there by a Topsham ambulance.

State troopers who investigated the crash said Hull may have had a medical problem before the crash. The accident slowed traffic in the southbound lanes for about two hours.


Suspect admits strangling his ex-girlfriend, police say

Police say a man who is charged with killing his ex-girlfriend admitted to strangling her in a fight over his decision to go elsewhere for Thanksgiving.

A state police affidavit was released Monday as Arnold Diana, 35, of Rockland made his initial court appearance in the death of Katrina Windred, 47, of Friendship.

The affidavit says Diana, who was arrested Saturday, told investigators that he strangled Windred in his apartment and left her face down on a pillow on his bed. He said Windred was dead when he returned from using her ATM card to get $60.

The Bangor Daily News said Diana has been the subject of three protection orders since 2008 and was convicted once of domestic violence assault.


Opening statements likely today in man’s murder trial

Opening statements are expected today in the murder trial of William Hanaman.

Hanaman, 52, is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, Marion Shea, at his apartment on Ocean Avenue on Nov. 11, 2009.

Police say Hanaman stabbed the 47-year-old mother of five, then tried to kill himself by overdosing on prescription medications. Acting on a phone call from Hanaman’s sister, police entered the apartment and found the pair lying on a bedroom floor. Hanaman was rushed to the hospital for treatment; Shea was already dead.

Hanaman had been charged with domestic violence assault against Shea about a month before the killing, and he was ordered not to have any contact with her.

Hanaman’s lawyer Robert Levine said his client acted in self-defense, and he intends to testify at the trial.

Jury selection began Monday and was expected to conclude this morning in Cumberland County Superior Court, with opening statements to follow.


Thief cuts hole in wall, steals cigarettes from CVS

Police are trying to determine who broke into a vacant store early Monday morning, cut a hole in a wall into the adjacent pharmacy and stole more than $625 worth of cigarettes.

Police say someone broke into the CVS at 1406 Congress St. at 1:45 a.m., triggering an alarm. When officers arrived, they found the doors to the pharmacy secure but the space next door, which is being renovated, had been broken into.

Officers searched that store and found sheets of wallboard covering a hole into the pharmacy. The suspect was gone, police said.

The pharmacy reported that at least 10 cartons and more than five packs of cigarettes were taken. None of the pharmacy’s drugs, which are typically locked in a separate vault, were taken.


Man charged with arson in fire at his apartment

A Portland man was charged with arson after police say he lit a fire in his apartment. Police said it is fortunate that a neighbor saw the smoke and called 911.

They said David Bouchard, 31, of 8 Alder St. was arrested at the Oxford Street homeless shelter soon after the fire was discovered in the multi-unit apartment building at 5:12 p.m. Friday.

The fire was caught quickly and damaged only some carpeting.


School bus hits pedestrian in downtown shopping area

A school bus hit a pedestrian Monday morning as it turned onto Main Street from Nathan Nye Street, in Freeport’s downtown shopping district.

Ten students in grades three through five were going to the Mast Landing elementary school on the bus when the accident occurred, around 8:45 a.m., said Shannon Welsh, superintendent of Regional School Unit 5, which covers Durham, Freeport and Pownal.

Welsh said the pedestrian, a woman, was taken to a hospital, where she was treated and released.

Welsh, who boarded the bus to check the students’ well-being, said none of the students was injured. No charges will be filed against the driver, she said.


Medical examiner reports that sheriff killed himself

The Maine Medical Examiner’s Office has concluded that a sheriff from Massachusetts who was being investigated for his use of campaign funds took his own life.

Kate Simmons, spokeswoman for Maine’s attorney general, said the medical examiner reported Monday that James V. DiPaola died from a gunshot to the head. The Middlesex County sheriff was found dead on Saturday after checking into a hotel in Wells. Police believe he died Friday night.

DiPaola was under investigation for his use of campaign money. He also was criticized for initially trying to collect two pensions in Massachusetts.

Investigators say DiPaola left a note behind that mentioned his wife and daughters. Maine officials refused to release the note’s contents.


Memorial Bridge will close to vehicles for an inspection

One of the major bridges between Portsmouth, N.H., and Kittery will be closed for an inspection of its lift machinery.

The Memorial Bridge is scheduled to be closed to motor vehicles from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. The bridge will remain open to pedestrians. Traffic in the river will not be affected.

The bridge was built in 1923. A task force is looking to replace it.


Navy to decrease funding at shipyard through 2016

Already criticized for failing to adequately fund maintenance at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the Navy plans to provide even less funding through 2016.

Paul O’Connor, president of the Metal Trades Council, told the Portsmouth Herald that word came last week from Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy. O’Connor said McCoy made it clear that jobs won’t be eliminated.

O’Connor said a bigger concern is a discussion by congressional Republicans of eliminating earmarks. Senate Republicans, including Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, have taken a no-earmark pledge

O’Connor noted that the first phase of a new dry dock to support Virginia-class submarines was funded through an earmark. That leaves the remainder in limbo.


Lobstermen: Christmas tree made from traps sets record

Lobster fishermen in eastern Maine say they have erected the world’s largest Christmas tree made from lobster traps.

A dozen lobstermen on Beals Island spent more than a week erecting a tree-shaped pile of 769 traps that stands 50 feet tall and is adorned with lights and lobster buoys as ornaments. More than 400 people gathered Sunday night as the tree was lit up.

Organizer Buddy Mills told the Bangor Daily News that he doesn’t know of a bigger lobster trap tree. comparison, he said a trap tree in Rockland is only 35 feet high and one in Gloucester, Mass., also falls short.