TOPSHAM

Topsham police have released the name of the Topsham man they say was killed Monday night after crossing the center line and colliding head-on with another vehicle on Route 196 in Topsham.

Richard Wright, 71, of Topsham was declared dead at the scene and while Topsham identified him, did not release his identity until they notified the family. Topsham Lt. Fred Dunn said late this afternoon police found family members out of state.

Topsham police were called to the wreck at Route 196 near Roberts Hill Road at 8:29 p.m. Monday. Upon arrival, they found one motorist severely injured who was taken by Lisbon rescue personnel to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston where he is listed in good condition today according to a hospital spokesperson.

Howard Wilson, 70, of Lisbon was injured when the Chevy Tahoe he was driving west on Route 196 was struck head-on a Ford Ranger traveling east driven by Wright.  Wilson had to be extricated from the vehicle by Topsham firefighters.

Wright was killed by the impact. Dunn said it is likely Wright was headed back to his home on River Road but it isn’t yet know where he was coming from prior to the crash. Police have been focused on locating family members and now can focus on building a timeline for Wright’s whereabouts prior to the crash. 

Dunn said Wright was driving east towards Topsham when he side-swiped a Ford Taurus station wagon driven by Nichole O’Farrell, 39,  of Lewiston, taking part of the sheet metal off the door of the Taurus and forcing her into a ditch. She was not injured and Lisbon police responded to that crash.

For some reason, Wright continued on driving approximately a mile down Route 196 when he crossed the center line and crashed into the Tahoe driven by Wilson.  Both vehicles were totaled after sustaining heavy front-end damage.

The crash is undergoing reconstruction by the Brunswick Police Department collision reconstruction team. Topsham police Sgt. Robert Ramsay is leading the ongoing investigation of the crash, which closed a large portion of Route 196 for more than three hours. Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Department also assisted.

The road was clear Monday night, Dunn said, and it doesn’t appear at this time that speed was a factor. Dunn said this morning police haven’t ruled out alcohol or drugs as a contributing factor. It will likely be at least three weeks before police get toxicology results Dunn said.

The crash was in the area of 868 Lewiston Road, only 50 to 70 yards from a fatal two-vehicle crash that killed a pregnant woman on Dec. 8.  Dunn said this area of Route 196 is on a corner down a hill where police have responded to other accidents including other fatal crashes. It was also the same area where a 17-year-old crashed into a ravine and went missing for two days while trapped in her car in November 2009 before a Topsham police officer found her.



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