Head-on crash kills local businessman, injures woman

A local businessman was killed and a woman hospitalized after a head-on crash Thursday morning on U.S. Route 202.

Richard Leighton, 71, of Winthrop, died at the scene, said Winthrop Police Capt. Ryan Frost. He owned Leighton’s Garage on Route 133.

Bobbi Reeves, 39, of Winthrop, was taken by ambulance to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston with injuries that were not life-threatening. She was treated and released, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The crash occurred just before 7:30 a.m., as Reeves drove her 2007 Dodge Durango east on U.S. 202. The Durango crossed the center line near the Horseshoe Road intersection, Frost said. The Durango hit Leigthon’s westbound 2002 Chevrolet pickup truck head on.


Both drivers were wearing seatbelts, police said.

A layer of snow and slush covered the road at the time of the crash, but it is unclear what, if any, role that played in the crash, Frost said. Police continue to investigate what caused Reeve’s Durango to cross into the westbound lane.

A section of the road was closed briefly immediately after the crash as traffic was diverted onto Stanley and Metcalf roads. The detour was lifted after 20 minutes and traffic was reduced to one lane around the crash until about 11 a.m.

Both vehicles were destroyed in the crash. The plow on Leighton’s truck was crinkled and bent from the impact. A sizable debris field of vehicle parts scattered across the westbound lane.

The crash occurred two weeks after a March 6 head-on crash on the same road in nearby Monmouth that claimed the life of a Mount Vernon woman. Both crashes occurred within a few minutes of 7:30 a.m. on the highway that gets heavy commuter traffic.

Winthrop and Monmouth police have each responded to three crashes on U.S. 202 this month. Three of those six crashes have involved head-on or near head-on collisions involving a driver crossing the center line. The crashes have left two people dead and four others injured.



House, Senate at odds over several gambling measures

Maine’s Democratic-controlled House and Senate are at odds over proposals to bring more slot machines to the state.

The House voted 77-57 on Thursday in favor of a bill that would allow veterans’ organizations like the American Legion to put slot machines in their clubs. The bill was shot down in the Senate late Wednesday.

The House also sent several gambling measures it supports back to the Senate on Thursday in hopes of seeing them passed into law. Among them is a bill that would allow the Houlton band of Maliseet Indians to open a casino in Aroostook County.

The Senate also rejected that measure Wednesday.


The House delayed action on another bill that would allow the Passamaquoddy Tribe to open a casino in Washington County.

LePage says ‘throw term limits out the window’

Maine Gov. Paul LePage says the state must take “term limits and throw them out of the window.”

LePage said Thursday that term limits create a Legislature full of young people with “firm agendas” who pass bills that “are hurting us for the long haul.”

The Republican governor made his remarks at the Energy and Technology Council of Maine’s forum on regional energy infrastructure issues in Hallowell.

Maine lawmakers can currently serve four consecutive two-year terms.


Lawmakers overturn bill on full pay for retired teachers

The Maine Legislature has overturned Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill to allow retired teachers who return to work to get paid in full.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 29-5 to override the Republican governor’s veto Thursday, following the same action in the House earlier this week.

The bill allows teachers who go back to work after they retire to get 100 percent of their pay for five years and 75 percent for the five years after that.

Currently, wages for retired state workers and teachers are reduced to 75 percent so that people aren’t taking home both a full salary and a pension.

Supporters of the bill say the current law makes it difficult to attract experienced teachers to schools that need them, especially those in rural areas.



High court upholds sentence in strangling of girlfriend

The Maine supreme court has upheld the conviction and 45-year sentence for a Rockland man convicted of strangling his girlfriend to death in November 2010.

Prosecutors said Arnold Diana killed his 47-year-old girlfriend, Katrina Windred, in her apartment while her 11-year-old son was waiting outside in her car reading comic books.

Diana’s lawyers argued that the conviction should be overturned because, among other things, a victim of domestic violence was allowed to serve on the jury. The supreme court rejected his appeal on Thursday.

Prosecutors had said there was overwhelming evidence that he killed her after finding out that she had met another man.



Wrongful death suit filed in police stun gun incident

The father of a man who died days after Bangor police used a stun gun on him during an arrest has filed a federal wrongful death suit.

WABI-TV reports that the suit filed by Michael McCue on behalf of his grandson seeks more than $6 million and names the police department, the city, several officers, emergency responders and the gun’s manufacture as defendants.

Police used a Taser on 28-year-old Philip McCue in September 2012 while he was high on the drug bath salts. He died at a hospital days later.

The suit claims authorities used excessive force and failed to give McCue proper medical care.


A police department attorney says officers acted “professionally and responsibly” in subduing McCue.

The state attorney general previously determined that use of the Taser was justified.

Former volunteer leaves $395,000 to animal shelter

A former volunteer at a pet charity in Maine has left the organization hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Bangor Humane Society said Thursday that the $395,000 left to it by former volunteer Shann Gillespie was an unexpected donation. Gillespie, who died unexpectedly in March, made the gift through her will.

The Humane Society says Gillespie was a quiet woman who loved cats. The organization says it plans to use the money to continue giving cats shelter in honor of Gillespie.


A check is to be provided to the organization Friday.


One driver hurt in one of 3 crashes near same location

A GMC Jimmy was outbound on Brighton Avenue Thursday morning with a load of scrap sheet metal when the load shifted near Capisic Street, causing the driver to veer into oncoming traffic at about 7:30 a.m., police said.

The SUV collided with an oncoming car and the scrap metal crashed down onto the windshield and hood of the GMC. Pieces of metal that had been inside the vehicle smashed through the windshield, protruding about two feet, police said.

The driver of the GMC, Timothy Hansen, 31, of Portland, was not injured.


The driver of the other car, Jean Plummer, 43, of Lewiston, was transported to Maine Medical Center with injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.

Two other crashes happened at roughly the same time and location, compounding traffic problems caused by the first.

A tractor-trailer was making a wide right-hand turn from Rand Road onto Brighton Avenue when it hit a compact car beside it, police said. Nobody was injured.

A third crash happened at 8 a.m. when a woman looking at the first crash stopped her car short and the car behind her crashed into it. Nobody was injured.

Police probe robbery at Munjoy Hill pharmacy

Portland police say they are investigating a robbery that took place at a pharmacy on Munjoy Hill.


Sgt. Jason King said someone entered the Rite-Aid pharmacy at 290 Congress Street on Thursday and robbed the store. King would not disclose whether cash or drugs were stolen.

King said the robbery suspect did not display a weapon. No injuries were reported.


Little information released on body found near beach

New Hampshire State Police say a body has been recovered from the ocean near a beach in Rye.

The state police Marine Patrol received a 911 call Thursday afternoon reporting a body in the water near Wallis Sands State Beach.


Police and the U.S. Coast Guard found the unidentified body, which has been recovered.

Police are not releasing any more information at this time.


University releases plans for outdoor swimming pool

The University of New Hampshire has released plans for its new $4.4 million outdoor swimming pool proposal, as some Durham residents still lobby to save the existing, 76-year-old pool that opened under the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Foster’s Daily Democrat reports Doug Bencks, director of campus planning, told a joint Durham-UNH pool working group on Wednesday the university is planning a 14,000- to 16,000-square-foot pool. It would have separate spaces for wading, laps and diving. It would be built atop the existing 42,000-square-foot pool, which doesn’t meet modern standards.

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