Jefferson man dies in crash after losing control of SUV

Police say a Jefferson man has died after losing control of his vehicle on Route 17 in Jefferson.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Department said it appears that 37-year-old Chris LaFrance lost control of his SUV while traveling east at about 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The vehicle clipped the end of a guard rail then traveled another 300 feet before rolling down an embankment.

WABI-TV reported that a driver headed in the opposite direction spotted the car down the embankment and called 911.


LaFrance was pronounced dead at the scene.

The death remains under investigation but police say LaFrance may have had some sort of medical emergency.


Propane cylinder ignites, spreads fire to new addition

Emergency crews responded to 527 Ledge Road in Yarmouth for a propane cylinder that had malfunctioned and was burning.

A nanny who had stopped by the home to let the residents’ dogs out reported the fire at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.


A 100-pound cylinder that was being used to warm a recently poured concrete foundation malfunctioned, spreading fire to some of the addition being built on the house there, said Deputy Fire Chief Rich Kindelan.

Crews quickly extinguished the fire and the propane burned off. There was no explosion as had been originally reported, Kindelan said.

The incident happened on the north end of town near the Freeport town line.

There were no injuries. There was between $10,000 and $20,000 in fire and water damage, mostly to the addition and the equipment that belonged to the contractor working on the project, Kindelan said.


Snowmobiler breaks a leg, crawls six hours to get help


A Maine man crawled 21/2 miles in below-freezing temperatures to get help after breaking his leg in a snowmobiling accident.

Nicholas Brown said it took him more than six hours to crawl down a hill in Mexico last week to get to a friend’s house.

The 57-year-old Brown told the Sun Journal he had gone to his snowmobiling club’s clubhouse last Thursday to leave membership applications and maps.

He lost control on some ice on his way home at about 9 p.m. and broke his leg.

“I lost control going around a corner and the sled went kind of broadside, and it was sliding sideways down the trail and I put my feet down thinking that (the sled) was going to flip over,” Brown said. He then overcorrected and the sled came back toward a leg.

He didn’t have a cellphone to call, so he used his elbows to crawl on his belly a mile and a half to a road. Then he got up on his hands and knees to crawl, arriving at the friend’s home at 3:30 a.m. Friday.


Brown said Warden Dave Chabot told him he was lucky that he wasn’t bleeding from a puncture wound. The warden told him he didn’t think Brown could have crawled as far as he did for help.


Cleaning woman arrested for stealing drugs from client

Falmouth police have charged a Portland woman who runs a cleaning service with stealing drugs from one of her elderly customers and police are asking if any of her other customers might have been victims.

Kathy A. Vargas, 45, runs a cleaning company under her own name. While she was cleaning a home in Falmouth on Jan. 9, she stole various amounts of prescription medication, said Lt. John Kilbride. She was arrested Saturday in Portland.

Police believe Vargas has dozens of customers in York and Cumberland counties and are interested in hearing from other customers, Kilbride said.


Customers are asked to call Detective Wayne Geyer at 781-2300.


Transit police arrest Mainer at station with stolen guns

A Maine man was arrested by MBTA Transit Police at Boston’s South Station on Tuesday as he boarded a bus for New York City with a pair of stolen guns.

Transit police were alerted by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday that Christopher Loucks, 28, of Hancock had two stolen pistols and may have been headed to catch the New York City bus.

Police found Loucks in the food court of the bus terminal and seized a Ruger 9 mm and a Taurus .22 caliber, and 15 rounds of 9 mm ammunition. Loucks was expected to make his initial court appearance Wednesday on two counts of possessing a firearm while not being licensed and knowingly receiving stolen property, according to transit police.



Acting state education chief nominated for commissioner

Gov. Paul LePage nominated Jim Rier for education commissioner on Wednesday.

Rier now faces confirmation by the Maine Senate after the nomination is reviewed by the Legislature’s Education Committee.

“I am confident you will make a valuable contribution to the State in that position,” LePage wrote in a letter to Rier.

Rier has been the acting head of the Education Department since October, after former Commissioner Stephen Bowen left to take a position at a national organization that formulates education policy.

Rier served two terms on the state Board of Education, and was chairman from 1997 to 2000. He joined the Department of Education in 2003 as director of finance and operations, and was named deputy commissioner in 2011.

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