Somerset Deputy David Cole, left, son of Cpl. Eugene Cole, who was killed in the line of duty, and Somerset Sheriff Dale Lancaster stand on the bridge spanning the Kennebec River Thursday. A bill to rename after the slain deputy now goes to Gov. Paul LePage. David Leaming/Morning Sentinel

The Maine Senate and House both have approved a bill to name the bridge over the Kennebec River in Norridgewock after slain Somerset County Sheriff’s Cpl. Eugene Cole.

The bill to name it the Cpl. Eugene Cole Memorial Bridge now heads to Gov. Paul LePage’s desk.

Eugene Cole

Cole was shot and killed on April 25 while on patrol in Norridgewock, where he lived. Cole’s death was the first police officer shooting death in Maine in nearly 30 years.

The shooting happened just minutes after Cole apparently stopped to check on John D. Williams of Madison about 1 a.m.

According to police, Williams shot Cole and then took his police pickup, drove to a Cumberland Farms store, which he robbed, and then drove off before abandoning the pickup.

Williams, 29, was arrested in Fairfield after a four-day manhunt.

He made his first court appearance April 30 and was charged with murder. He later pleaded not guilty to the charge. He faces 25 years to life in prison if found guilty.

Republican Rep. Brad Farrin of Norridgewock submitted the bill to name the bridge for Cole. The Norridgewock Board of Selectmen unanimously endorsed the measure as well.

Town Manager Richard LaBelle said Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster suggested renaming the bridge after Cole.

Norridgewock also declared April 25 as Corporal Eugene Cole Day.

Cpl. David Cole, Eugene Cole’s son and a deputy who soon will become a detective with the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, said he would be proud to have the bridge dedicated to his late father.

“I’m honored,” he said by the bridge Thursday. “My family is honored that they’re remembering my father this way.”

Lancaster added that the heavily traveled bridge now will bear the name of his fallen comrade.

“Every time people go across the bridge, they will remember the sacrifice that – not only the ultimate sacrifice – that Cpl. Eugene Cole gave, but … they’ll also remember (his work) with the community,” Lancaster said.

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:

[email protected];

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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