William P. Young

WOOLWICH — Five months after he allegedly caused a head-on crash on Route 1 in Woolwich that claimed the life of 58-year-old Barry Wyman of Woolwich, William Young, 55, of Topsham was arrested Thursday on charges that include manslaughter.

Young was driving a Penske cargo van north on Route 1 near the Taste of Maine restaurant when the van crossed the centerline and collided with Wyman’s southbound Subaru Forester on July 15. The van then struck two other vehicles.

Wyman died of injuries he suffered in the crash on July 31. Young and the drivers of the two other vehicles he struck were taken to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick where they were all treated and released.

Last week, a Sagadahoc County Grand Jury indicted Young on charges of manslaughter, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, driving to endanger and criminal speed.

The Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office arrested Young on a warrant following the indictment. Young was taken to the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office and released on $5,000 cash bail. He is scheduled to appear in Sagadahoc County District Court on Feb. 18.

Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry said investigations into crashes like this are time consuming. Merry said the investigation was thorough and involved a crash reconstruction, vehicle examinations and interviews with witnesses.

Members of the sheriff’s office sat down with prosecutors for the Sagadahoc County District Attorney’s Office on several occasions to review the case, Merry said.

At one point, prosecutor A.J. Chalifour sent investigators back to get additional information, “and it was determined the best thing was to let a grand jury determine if there’s enough to charge the person, so we had to wait for the next grand jury session,” he said.

“This was a tragic event and the loss of a life was felt throughout our community,” Merry said in the press release. “I am pleased with the amount of work and effort that went into this investigation. It is now up to the District Attorney and the courts to decide what happens next.”

Wyman was posthumously awarded the city of Bath’s Al Smith Community Spirit Award in October. He had served as a youth mentor, volunteering for two decades as a coach for Bath Youth Football.

The July 15 crash sparked concern about the many crashes that happen on that stretch of Route 1.

Four people were injured in a four-vehicle crash near the Taste of Maine on Route 1 in Woolwich on July 15. Photo courtesy of Woolwich Fire Department

In the past three years, Woolwich’s fire and rescue department responded to 17 crashes between the Taste of Maine Restaurant and where Route 1 intersects with George Wright Road, according to Woolwich Fire Chief Mike Demers. Three of those crashes resulted in deaths.

The Maine Department of Transportation plans to replace or rehabilitate the bridge just north of the Taste of Maine where this crash occurred. During a public meeting on the project Wednesday there was a call for increased safety measures.

Demers said he believes speed is a factor in most accidents, as the speed limit changes from 35 to 55 miles per hour on the bridge, and turning onto Route 1 from George Wright Road can be challenging for drivers because the curve in the road can lead to reduced visibility.

“(The bridge) is like our Bermuda Triangle,” Demers told DOT representatives Wednesday.

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