FARMINGTON — A 12-year-old girl from Connecticut was killed Wednesday when a tractor-trailer hit a YMCA minivan carrying young campers on Route 2.

Tess Meisel of Westport, Conn., was killed and two other girls, along with both drivers, were taken to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The injured girls were Samantha Hollender, 15, and Samantha Gaivao, 13, both from Connecticut. Gaivao was treated and released, and Hollender was taken by ambulance to Maine Medical Center in Portland, said a spokeswoman at Franklin Memorial Hospital.

Hollender was being evaluated at 6 p.m. and her condition was not available, said a spokeswoman at Maine Medical Center.

The driver of the minivan was Charles Powell, 23, of Colebrook, Conn. He did not receive medical treatment. Charles Willey, 53, of Dexter, who was driving the tractor-trailer, was treated and released.

Investigators at the scene said they believe the tractor-trailer crossed the centerline about 9:20 a.m., crushing the rear of the Dodge minivan, which was heading toward a nearby traffic light.

The tractor-trailer, which was getting on Route 2 by a curving yield entrance, tipped onto its side after the collision, spilling its load of sawdust, said Farmington police Officer Wayne Drake.

Minutes after the crash, campers from the minivan were spread out across the nearby grass, some sitting and crying while others wandered among emergency responders.

A Farmington firefighter put a green blanket over Meisel, whose body was in the tangle of metal where the minivan’s rear end had been crushed.

Emergency responders treated a young girl along the road, wrapping her head in bandages before taking her away in an ambulance. Another emergency responder approached a shirtless man, holding him by the shoulders and talking to him while the man covered his face with both hands.

An emergency medical technician shouted for help when he found Willey trapped in the tractor-trailer’s cab. Other firefighters and police officers used power tools to pull the windshield off the truck and get the man out onto a stretcher.

Meisel was sitting in the rear seat of the minivan when the crash occurred, and the two injured girls were sitting elsewhere in the van, said McCausland.

The minivan, owned by a YMCA camp in Colebrook, Conn., was going from Acadia National Park to a park in Vermont, said McCausland.

James Morton, president of the YMCA of Greater Hartford, said two counselors and four campers from Connecticut were involved in the crash.

Meisel attended Coleytown Middle School, according to an article posted Wednesday afternoon on, a community news website.

In the article, a town selectman described Meisel as a promising environmentalist who had already won awards for promoting “everything green.”

She can be seen smiling in photos accompanying the article, holding awards after the Connecticut Environmental Forum honored her for an environmentally friendly invention: a reusable, renewable pizza box and tray with a new pizza delivery business model.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by state police and Farmington police. A representative of the District Attorney’s Office was also at the crash site, along with the state police commercial vehicle enforcement unit, said McCausland.

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer David Robinson can be contacted at 861-9287 or at:

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