Officials investigating two fatal crashes in as many days on Route 3 in Liberty have not found any connection between the accidents that claimed three lives and said the stretch of road where they occurred is not considered a high-crash zone by the state.

“We are hoping and praying that this is an unusual anomaly,” Liberty Town Administrator Kenneth Ortmann said Thursday. “I hope nothing more like this happens.”

Janice Minson, 64, died Wednesday when she was headed home via Route 3 to Verona Island from an out-of-state vacation and her car crossed the centerline and hit an oncoming pickup truck in the area of Lake St. George State Park, Maine State Police said.

The pickup’s driver, Evan West, 20, of Liberty, and two passengers, Samuel Levesque, 15, of Liberty, and Kolby Adams, 9, of Hope, were on their way to a nearby store.

Minson died shortly after she was taken to Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast and Adams died at the scene, state police said.

West was treated and released from the Belfast hospital. Levesque was injured more seriously and was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland. His injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, state police said.

Maine Medical Center had no information about a patient named Samuel Levesque on Thursday. Patient information about minors generally is not released without the consent of a parent.

Attempts to reach West and Minson’s family were unsuccessful Thursday.

Wednesday’s crash occurred a quarter-mile from the site of a fatal accident that happened during a snowstorm around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. State police said William Chadwick, 55, of Oakland, was killed when his pickup was struck head-on by a box truck driven by Dusan Dokic, 20, of Spanaway, Washington.

In both cases, Route 3 was closed for several hours. Both accidents remain under investigation.

An analysis by the state Department of Transportation shows that section of Route 3 does not meet the criteria to be considered a high-crash location.

Ortmann said that section of Route 3 is not known to be particularly dangerous.

“It’s a relatively straight stretch of road,” Ortmann said. “The speed limit goes down along the lake, and my guess is that was done years ago.”

Route 3, which links Augusta to the midcoast, is heavily traveled in the summer, and the state park draws traffic as well.

Ortmann, who has been town administrator for two years, said the state seems to be doing a good job maintaining the state route, and salting and sanding after clearing the snow. Rumble strips were added to the road this year.

Bill Gillespie, chief of the Liberty Fire Department, said the accidents have affected first responders in the area.

“We have a grave concern on the impact of the accidents,” Gillespie said, noting the three deaths in two days included the death of a child.

He said one of his sons was the assistant chief at both accident scenes, and his youngest son also responded to both crashes.

A debriefing has been scheduled to let volunteers with both the fire department and the ambulance service know about resources that are available for counseling or other help.

“We have our eyes open for signs of PTSD,” he said.

The accidents came nearly year after a Liberty teen was killed in a crash on his way to school. Riley Boulay, 16, was driving to Mount View High School on Dec. 6, when he apparently lost control of his car near the intersection of Randlett and Morse roads in Montville. He died at the scene.

“We’re hoping this is a tragic coincidence that doesn’t repeat itself anytime soon,” Ortmann said.

Jessica Lowell can be contacted at 621-5632 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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