A 40-year-old mother of four was struck and killed by a car Saturday night in Gray, and a North Yarmouth man was accused of drunken driving in the incident.

Jay Westra, 58, was charged with operating under the influence after his 2015 Honda Civic struck Samantha Rinaldi, 40, of Gray, who was walking on Yarmouth Road at about 7:46 p.m., according to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. He was arrested at the scene by Deputy Ben Schaeffer.

Jay Westra Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office

Rinaldi later died of her injuries at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Westra is the widower of Chebeague Island School teacher Kristin Westra, who went missing for six days before her body was found in the woods near her North Yarmouth home last fall.

Jay Westra’s 11-year-old daughter was in the car at the time of the crash, the sheriff’s office said.

Rinaldi was the mother of four children: Christian Ballard, 20, Griffin Ballard, 16, Jaden Ballard, 15, and Kali Ballard, 14. They lived with Rinaldi’s parents, said her former husband, Aaron Ballard.


She was a graduate of Portland High School and worked at local businesses, including a Cumberland Farms store, said Ballard. He said Rinaldi was devoted to her children.

“She was a good mom. She liked spending time with her kids mostly,” said Ballard.

He said his children are very upset.

“There is no excuse for drunk driving and the fact that he had an 11-year-old child in the car,” said Ballard. “Everyone has tragedy in their lives. You don’t have to act in such a manner that would take someone else’s life.”

A cross erected by the four children of Samantha Rinaldi of Gray stands on Yarmouth Road in Gray on Sunday. Staff photo by Ariana van den Akker

In honor of their mother, Rinaldi’s children on Sunday erected a cross bearing her name on Yarmouth Road. The family declined to comment Sunday evening.

Kristin Westra, 47,  was last seen Sept. 30, 2018. She was gone when her husband woke up the next morning. She left both her phone and car at home.


Police and volunteers searched for her all week before her body was discovered six days later by two girls walking in the woods less than a mile from the Westra home.

Her death was ruled a suicide. Her husband said in a television interview at the time that she was experiencing anxiety and sleepless nights, but an assessment by a licensed clinical nurse practitioner determined she was not at risk of harm to herself.

Jay and Kristin Westra Courtesy of Jay Westra via Facebook

Jay Westra was taken to Cumberland County Jail in Portland and released on bail.

Cumberland County Chief Deputy Naldo Gagnon said that further charges against Westra could follow after the investigation – which could take two or three weeks – is complete. He said Westra is due to appear in court on June 12.

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