Two men killed when cars collide on Interstate 95

Two men were killed Sunday night when their vehicles collided head-on in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 95 in Hampden, Maine State Police said.

The driver of a sport utility vehicle made a wrong turn and started driving north in the southbound lanes of I-95, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

About 7 p.m., the SUV collided head-on with a pickup truck operated by James Curtis, 39, of Knox, heading south. The impact of the collision killed both drivers. The name and age of the SUV driver were being withheld pending notification of his family, McCausland said, and troopers are still attempting to locate his relatives. His last address was in Carmel, McCausland said.

Both southbound lanes had to be shut down and traffic was diverted at the Colebrook Road exit in Hampden. The lanes were still closed at 10:25 p.m. Sunday, McCausland said.


Hampden is in Penobscot County,outside Bangor.


Woman arrested after hitting 123 mph with kids

A Cornish woman with her two young children in her car was arrested Sunday after Maine State Police said they spotted her weaving in and out of traffic on the Maine Turnpike and clocked her on radar going 123 mph, according to Publc Safety Department spokesman Steve McCausland.

State Trooper Roger Teachout said the woman, Cheryl Gilson, 24, of Roland Day Road, was taken to the Cumberland County Jail, where she was charged with criminal speed, driving to endanger, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Teachout said he first spotted Gilson traveling north at a high rate of speed on the Maine Turnpike in Saco around 2 p.m. He followed her for about 10 miles – it was not a high-speed pursuit – until their vehicles reached the Exit 47 off-ramp in Portland, where he pulled her over, according to McCausland.


Teachout said he handcuffed Gilson, who did not seem to understand why she was being arrested.

Teachout said he ran checks on three men who were in the 2009 Hyundai Sonata with her. All of the men’s driver’s licenses were under suspension. None of the three could say what their intended destination was, McCausland said.

Gilson’s two children, ages 3 and 5, were also in the car and were not harmed.

Teachout said Gilson’s car did not hit any other vehicles despite her speed and erratic driving. Gilson was released Sunday night from jail on $250 cash bail.


Fire destroys rear of two-story home


A fire caused significant damage Sunday afternoon to a single-family home at 9 Windsor Lane.

Lt. Eric Wheeler of the Biddeford Fire Department said the fire destroyed the rear of the two-story home, but the homeowners were able to escape and were not injured. Two family cats survived the fire, which was reported at 3:19 p.m.

The home is located off Alfred Street behind Pizza by Alex. Wheeler said the home is not livable. He was not sure where the occupants stayed Sunday night.


Large barn destroyed by early morning blaze

A large barn was destroyed in a fire early Sunday morning at 17 Kingsley Road in Raymond.


Fire Chief Bruce Tupper said the owners of the barn reported the fire at about 5:10 a.m.

About 30 firefighters from Raymond and surrounding communities worked several hours to extinguish the blaze and prevent it spreading to a house about 70 feet away.

No one was hurt. The barn was used for storage. It housed a four-bay garage, a tractor, tools, wood and a cider press.

The cause of the fire, which is not suspicious, is under investigation, Tupper said.

He said he has called the State Fire Marshal’s Office for help determining the cause.



Neighborhood evacuated for natural gas leak

A North Windham neighborhood was evacuated Sunday morning after a natural gas leak was discovered in an underground line.

Windham Fire Chief Charles Hammond said the leak was discovered about 4:45 a.m. by the occupants of a house on Abby Lane, a residential neighborhood behind the North Windham Shopping Center on Roosevelt Trail, also known as Route 302.

Hammond said the occupants detected a strong odor indicating gas. He said natural gas is intentionally injected with Mercaptan, a sulphuric chemical compound that smells like a mix of rotting cabbages and burning rubber. The pungent smell makes it easier for someone to detect a natural gas leak. Hammond said natural gas is odorless.

The fire department evacuated surrounding homes, including a four-unit apartment building and two houses, while a repair crew from Maine Natural Gas worked to fix the leak. Firefighters kept people away from the repair area, where the danger of an explosion from the leak remained high, Hammond said. Residents were allowed back into their homes at about 12:30 p.m.

The crew located the leak and stopped the flow of gas in the line before making repairs. Hammond said.



Eighth-grader earns trip to National Geographic Bee

An eighth-grader from Saco Middle School will represent Maine at The National Geographic Bee in Washington.

Vincent Falardeau took top honors at the state level completion last week at the University of Maine at Farmington. Brandon Aponte of Brooklin, a member of the Hancock County Homeschoolers Association, came in second. Eric Youth of Scarborough, a student at Portland’s Breakwater School, came in third.

Falardeau won $100 and a trip to Washington to represent Maine in the national finals May 19-21. First prize in the national competition is a $50,000 college scholarship, a trip to the Galapagos Islands and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society.



Lifetime hunting and fishing licenses available

Some Mainers can now get licenses for fishing, hunting, trapping or archery that last a lifetime instead of having to renew them every year.

The licenses are available for residents who are 15 years old or younger, and residents 65 and older. They must be purchased through the Department of Inland Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

The department says the system saves on money for outdoors people who would typically renew their permits every year.

Prices range from $8 to $800 depending on the age of the applicant and how many activities the license covers. The elderly get the largest discounts, with those age 70 and older paying a one-time $8 fee for all outdoor hunting and fishing.

– From staff and news services

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