State police confirm brakes failed in fatal fire engine crash

An investigation into the fatal crash at Bangor’s Fourth of July parade confirmed that the antique fire engine that crushed a Holden man lost its braking ability.

The city’s 1930 McCann pumper was being driven by Patrick Heathcote, 29, a Bangor firefighter, with his two daughters on the back.

Wallace Fenlason, 63, was driving a 1941 John Deere tractor ahead of the pumper.

The vehicles were following a makeshift route after the parade had to be detoured because of an armed standoff between police and a suspect.

An accident investigation by Officer Russell Twaddell and a vehicle autopsy assisted by the Maine State Police inspections division confirmed that the brakes on the antique pumper had malfunctioned.

The report, made available Friday, said Fenlason had slowed his antique tractor on the downhill incline of Water Street at the intersection with Main Street and that the pumper “lost its braking ability” and struck the tractor.

The report does not elaborate.

Fenlason was ejected and landed in the road in the path of the pumper, which hit him. He died as a result of a neck injury, according to the report.

Even though the accident report was approved by the state police on Friday, a statement from the Bangor police Saturday said the report posted on the state’s crash report database was a preliminary report, “not substantiated” and does not include the conclusions of the full investigation.

“The complete report into this tragic accident, which includes expert investigations by the Maine State Police, the Bangor Police Departments Accident Reconstruction … and Criminal Investigations Detective Cliff Worcester, is not finished and should be by mid-week,” said the statement by Sgt. Paul Edwards.

The crash rekindled debate over whether antique vehicles should be subject to annual inspections. Currently they are required to meet basic safety standards but unlike modern vehicles are not subjected to routine annual inspections.


Teen a suspect for several nighttime burglaries 

Police say an 18-year-old man is a suspect in several burglaries in the area. Paul Allen Fernald Jr. was arrested Friday on an outstanding warrant on a burglary charge.

Police say items such as jewelry, cash, credit cards and tools have been taken in the burglaries. Entry had been gained mostly through unlocked doors and windows. Most of the burglaries happened at night.


State honors hundreds of Korean War veterans

Hundreds of Korean War veterans were recognized at ceremonies across Maine on Saturday for their service during the war.

An estimated 400 or more veterans received certificates of appreciation from the federal Department of Defense and the state at ceremonies held in Sanford, Rumford, Lewiston, Brunswick and Bangor.

Many also received appreciation medals given by the country of South Korea, said Peter Ogden director of the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services.

Saturday was the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice Agreement marking the end of the three-year war between South Korea and North Korea.

“This is a big day to recognize our Korean War veterans,” Ogden said. “They call it the forgotten war, and this gives us a chance to say thanks.”

About 41,000 Mainers served during the war, but only 13,000 still live in Maine, Ogden said.
“That population is dwindling quickly,” he said.

Gov. Paul LePage earlier this week issued a proclamation declaring July 27 as Maine Korean War Veteran Recognition Day.

First Lady Ann LePage marked the anniversary with a speech at Veterans Memorial Park in Lewiston.

“I am a firm believer that it is every American’s duty to acknowledge the sacrifices made by our military men and women and to thank them, every day, for the freedoms we enjoy,” she said. “Without them, the ‘American way of life’ would not be possible.”


Police search for two menwho robbed Bangor Savings

Police on Saturday continued to search for two men who robbed a Bangor Savings branch in Winslow.

Staff at a Waterville emergency services dispatch center said Saturday there were no new developments and no arrests made in the case. Two men with handguns robbed the 78 China Road branch at 11:13 a.m. Friday, brandishing handguns, ordering everyone in the bank down on the floor and fleeing on foot with cash.

No employees or customers were injured in the robbery.

Both men were wearing heavily stained painting coveralls and wearing sunglasses.

One was between 50 and 60 years old, around 250 pounds, with a thick gray handlebar mustache, and the other was between 20 and 30 years old, taller, with a slight accent and a bandana covering the lower part of his face, he said.

Winslow police Sgt. Haley Fleming said interviews with bank employees were inconclusive about what kind of accent the man had.

Winslow police are leading the investigation, while Maine State Police and the Waterville Police Department are assisting with evidence collection. Fleming asked that anyone with information about the robbery call the Winslow Police Department at 872-5215.


Three people injured following three-car crash

Three people were taken to the hospital with what were described as non-life-threatening injuries following a three-car collision Saturday morning.

Gorham police said the crash occurred shortly after 11 a.m. when Roger Mercaldi, 69, of Georgetown failed to yield to traffic when he tried to turn onto North Street from the Phinney Lumber yard.

According to police, the driver of a second car, Lorrie Mininger, 50, of Gorham, swerved to avoid Mercaldi’s car and hit another car, driven by Benjamin Tuttle, 49, of Gorham, who was stopped at a stop sign. Police said Mininger and one of her passengers, Robert Mininger, 52, were taken to the hospital, along with Tuttle.

Gorham police said the crash remains under investigation.


Police looking for man who robbed Domino’s Pizza

A man took an undisclosed amount of money in a robbery of the Domino’s Pizza on Route 1 Saturday afternoon, police said.

According to Kittery Police, a man wearing a gray or white hooded sweat shirt walked in the front door of the pizza restaurant around 2 p.m. and demanded money. After getting some money, the man left the immediate area on foot, police said, but may have gotten into a waiting vehicle. No weapon was shown and no injuries were reported, police said.

– Staff and new service reports

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