Police: Cellphone dispute was a factor in I-295 crash

A Portland man faces drunken driving charges following a crash on Interstate 295 in Falmouth early Friday morning.

Ralph K. Jutkiewicz, 53, was driving a 1997 Ford Explorer northbound at 12:42 a.m. when he got into a dispute with his male passenger over a cellphone, police said. The passenger, whose name was not immediately available, grabbed the wheel and caused the car to swerve into the large rocks that line that stretch of the highway, said Maine State Police Sgt. Robert Burke.

The passenger was partially ejected and had to be extricated from the vehicle by Falmouth fire and rescue workers.

Jutkiewicz was combative when Falmouth police arrived and he smelled of alcohol. He and his passenger were taken to Maine Medical Center with serious injuries that were not life-threatening, Burke said.

“We’re lucky they didn’t kill anybody out there, including themselves,” Burke said.


Cruiser making U-turn leads to crash on Route 302

A car was totaled and a Cumberland County sheriff deputy’s cruiser was damaged in an accident at the intersection of Route 302 and White’s Bridge Road on Friday evening.

The Sheriff’s Office said no one was hurt in the accident, which occurred about 5:45 p.m.

The Sheriff’s Office said Deputy Brad Chicoine was making a U-turn to respond to a domestic violence call in Raymond when it was hit on the driver’s side door by a car driven by Amber Sprinkle, 22, of Bridgton. Sprinkle told deputies that she was trying to drive past the cruiser, believing Chicoine was pulling over a car.

Sprinkle’s car was totaled and Chicoine’s cruiser had damage estimated at $5,000. Sprinkle was cited for having no insurance.


Machete-attack sentences were too harsh, lawyer says

Consecutive life prison sentences imposed on a man convicted in a brutal machete attack on a father and 10-year-old daughter in Pittston were excessive, surpassing penalties imposed for attacks in which the victims were killed, the defendant’s lawyer told the state Supreme Court on Friday.

The lawyer for Daniel Fortune asked the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to overturn the sentence, and argued that evidence was insufficient to uphold convictions.

“That sentence is erroneous because it’s unconstitutionally disproportionate to the crime,” defense lawyer Arnold Clark told the panel in a session held at Lisbon High School.

Kennebec County Deputy District Attorney Alan Kelley said the extreme cruelty justified the harsh sentence in a case that was “straight out of horror movies, the slasher movies.”

Fortune was convicted of attacking William Guerrette Jr. and the girl during a late-night home invasion that left both near death and permanently injured. Nicole Guerrette lost part of her skull due to blows to her head and spent six weeks in the hospital.

Fortune was convicted of aggravated attempted murder, attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault, robbery, burglary and violating bail conditions. His roommate and foster brother, Leo Hylton, is serving a 50-year sentence for his role in the attacks in May 2008.


Route 1 to detour trafficfor repair work on Oct. 24

Traffic headed north on Route 1 will be detoured on Oct. 24 and speed limits will be lowered for about two weeks after that while crews make repairs to a railroad overpass.

An over-height vehicle hit the Black Bridge, which carries Route 1 traffic over the rail tracks, necessitating the repairs, officials with the Maine Department of Transportation said. Work crews will install concrete Jersey barriers on Monday, Oct. 24, and will need to shut off northbound traffic.

A detour will take vehicles onto Pleasant and Maine streets and then back onto Route 1, MDOT officials said.


Planning and development official to leave this month

Penny St. Louis, director of the city’s Planning and Urban Development Department, will leave at the end of the month.

St. Louis has been with Portland for nearly 14 years, starting as associate city lawyer and then heading up the Planning and Urban Development Department.

City Manager Mark Rees said he will announce an acting director for the department and a national search process to replace St. Louis in coming weeks.


Mother of man who killed two hoping for insight

The mother of the Nova Scotia man who killed two sex offenders in Maine and then himself in 2006 is now fighting with the Maine Attorney General’s Office to get access to her son’s computer drive in the hope that it may provide insight into her son’s behavior.

“I won’t give up until I’m satisfied that I have the information that I need to have as a mother,” Margaret Miles of Syndey, Nova Scotia, told CBC News.

Her son, Stephen Marshall, 20, used Maine’s online sex offender registry to locate his two victims, Joseph Gray, 57, of Milo and William Elliott, 24, of Corinth.

Marshall later shot himself in the head when he was approached by police while he was a passenger on a bus in Boston.


Route 1 to have overnight closure for trail construction

The installation of a key piece of the Eastern Trail will close Route 1 overnight later this month.

A bridge will be put in place across Route 1 just north of Ross Road to connect two portions of the off-road trail. Starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, Route 1 will be closed from Ross Road to Spring Hill Road for the work.

Drivers can use both Spring Hill and Ross roads to navigate around the closure.

Route 1 will reopen around 6 a.m. Friday, Oct. 28.

For more information, visit www.easterntrail.org.


Number of dead seals hits 100; no cause found yet

Federal officials say the number of dead harbor seals found on beaches in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts in the past several weeks is nearing 100, yet the cause remains a mystery.

Mendy Garron, regional marine mammal stranding coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said Thursday the count is now up to 94 since Sept. 1.

Most of the dead mammals appear to be young.


Town officials consider ban on sale and use of fireworks

Town voters will gather Tuesday to consider adopting a fireworks ban and the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code.

A town meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room at the Town Office.

One proposed ordinance would ban the sale, use and display of fireworks in town – activities that are now allowed under state law.

A second proposal would replace the town’s building and residential codes with a uniform code adopted a year ago by the state’s Building Codes and Standards Board.