A man who came upon the scene of a fatal crash Monday and was sought by police as a potential witness has come forward, but was not able to answer questions about what happened.

Westbrook police have not identified the man but said he came forward and was interviewed by investigators after a photo of him at the scene taken moments after the crash was posted online and published in the Portland Press Herald on Wednesday. In the photo, the man is seen standing at the driver’s window of the silver-colored sedan that carried the three victims who died.

The man did not see the crash happen, but stopped to check on the occupants of the vehicles after happening upon the crash scene, police said.

He left the scene before investigators had a chance to talk to him. He was considered a possible witness, and was not suspected of any wrongdoing. Police said the man did not want his name released.

Gregory Harriman, 50, of Sebago, Joshua Stone, 33, of Gorham and Hassan Idris Ali, 39, of Lewiston died in the crash. Harriman and Stone were passengers in the back seat and Ali was driving the 2009 Toyota Camry that was an unmarked taxi owned by the Orange Taxi and Transportation Service of Portland.

The crash occurred on a stretch of Route 22, also known as County Road, near a blind crest. Police said Ali was driving west when he apparently lost control in slippery conditions and his vehicle crossed the centerline, exposing the right side to oncoming traffic.

Gregory E. Harriman, 50, of Sebago was one of three people killed in a head-on crash Monday on County Road in Westbrook. Photo courtesy of the Harriman family

Ali’s Camry was struck by a 2014 Nissan Frontier pickup truck driven by Lisa Libby, 60, of Hollis, who was traveling east. Libby suffered multiple broken ribs and a collapsed lung, and is being treated in the critical-care unit of Maine Medical Center in Portland. Her condition had been upgraded from serious to satisfactory, a Maine Medical Center spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Reached on his cellphone Monday night, Omar Mohamed, one of Orange Taxi’s owners, would not talk in detail about where Ali had picked up his passengers and where they were heading. Mohamed said he was with a group of people who were “mourning the tragedy.” He declined to comment further.

Ali is an asylum seeker who fled his East African country of Djibouti about three years ago for political reasons, said Jama Mohamed, director of family services for Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services in Lewiston.

Ali and his wife, Haboun Ibrahim, lived in San Diego for a couple of months before moving to Lewiston in early 2017. The couple have a 2-year-old daughter who was born in Lewiston.

Police said the cause of the crash is under investigation, but black ice had been reported in the area and a sanding truck was on its way to that part of the city to treat icy roads. It arrived shortly after the crash.


The police crash report also listed road conditions at the time of the crash as “ice/frost,” and identified the slippery surface as a contributing factor.

Everyone involved in the crash was wearing seat belts, the report said. The air bags deployed in Ali’s vehicle, but they did not go off in Libby’s pickup truck, the report said.

Jeff Harriman, 52, the brother of Gregory Harriman, said he will remember his brother as a fiercely independent-minded man with a wicked sense of humor and a love of animals.

Gregory Harriman was self-employed and did auto body work, Jeff Harriman said.

Sometimes Gregory stayed with his brother and sometimes he stayed with friends, and overall, he preferred to have a lifestyle of few commitments.

“He was the kind of person who made his own path,” Jeff Harriman said. “He wasn’t much for convention, I guess. He was a little rebellious at times. He was very opinionated.”

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: