Criminal charges won’t be filed against the driver whose vehicle struck and killed Cape Elizabeth’s former public works director at the town’s transfer station in November.

Christine Sharp-Lopez, 72, of 42 Hunts Point Road, won’t be charged in the accident that caused the death of Herbert Dennison, 79, of 63 Spurwink Ave., according to Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson.

Public safety officials wouldn’t say why they reached that decision. An initial police report on the Nov. 24 accident indicated that Sharp-Lopez was backing up improperly when the Ford Explorer she was driving hit Dennison and pushed him, causing him to fall into the below-ground-level trash compactor, which wasn’t operating at the time.

A thorough examination of the SUV revealed no mechanical defects, said Police Chief Neil Williams. Blood alcohol tests on both Dennison and Sharp-Lopez showed neither had been drinking before the accident, Williams said.

Meanwhile, a new traffic pattern went into effect Wednesday at the transfer station on Dennison Road, which was named after the former public works director.

Residents will no longer be allowed to back into the compactor building to deposit their trash. Instead, residents will form one line to pull forward into one of four dropoff spaces. Residents will then carry their garbage to the hopper. Carts will be available to help residents get their trash to the hopper.

The change creates a one-way traffic loop that eliminates all backing up at the transfer station. Woodard & Curran, a Portland engineering firm, devised the new traffic pattern as a short-term solution to safety concerns at the transfer station.

Woodard & Curran has been asked to submit a proposal for an in-depth study of the town’s solid waste disposal and recycling options, said Town Manager Mike McGovern. The study would encompass options ranging from making modifications to the existing drop-off facility to adopting curbside trash pickup.

Kelley Bouchard can be reached at 791-6328 or at:

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