Reckless driving blamed for spate of deadly crashes across Maine …
The state has had 17 motorcycle deaths this year, including four this past weekend as police blame irresponsible driving.
Six people, including four motorcyclists, were killed during the weekend in accidents that spanned the state from Fort Kent in Aroostook County to Durham and Buckfield in southern and western Maine.
Police attributed the fatalities to excessive speed, alcohol and reckless driving. Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said the weekend was one of the deadliest in recent memory.
We ve seen some irresponsible driving, exacerbated by the fact that this is the season when motorcycles are seeing their greatest use, McCausland said.
Maine has had 17 motorcycle deaths so far this year, the most since at least 2010, according to the Bureau of Highway Safety. Last year at this time, the state had recorded six motorcycle fatalities.
Eight motorcyclists died during the same time period in 2013.
Two of the motorcyclists who died in the weekend crashes were not wearing helmets, but police said helmets would not have made a difference at the speeds the riders were going.
McCausland said Jonathan Billings, 24, of Windham died Sunday when his Harley-Davidson hit a fence post on Route 27 in New Sharon. Farmington police said the motorcycle was going more than 100 mph. Billings was not wearing a helmet.
Farmington police tried to stop Billings around 1 a.m., but decided not to pursue him because of how fast he was going.
A landowner on Route 27 found the 2007 Harley-Davidson XL1200 in his field, and Billings body near it, about 6 p.m.
McCausland said police may never be able to determine why Billings was going so fast.
On Sunday night, Beth L. Woodmancy, 52, of Brunswick died when her motorcycle crashed on Route 125 in Durham, near its intersection with Meadow Road.
Woodmancy was riding north when she failed to negotiate a curve, left the west side of the road and hit a utility pole. The Androscoggin County Sheriff s Department said speed was a factor.
She was not wearing a helmet at the time.
On Friday night, Colby Martin, 19, was killed when his motorcycle collided with another motorcycle along Route 161 in Fort Kent. McCausland said the accident was alcohol-related.
Also Friday night, a Passadumkeag man was killed when his motorcycle hit a deer in Enfield about 9:30 p.m. His name was not available.
Though it was not a fatal, Fryeburg Police Chief Joshua Potvin reported another motorcycle crash Monday afternoon.
The rider was once again not wearing a helmet and the accident forced police to shut down Route 302 in Fryeburg for about 30 minutes.
Potvin said the motorcyclist, a 49-year-old Albany, New Hampshire, man, was passing a car that was turning right when the operator of another vehicle, who was trying to exit the Thriftway Supermarket parking lot, pulled out in front of him.
The rider laid the motorcycle down to avoid a collision. The man, whose name was not released, was in stable condition Monday night at Bridgton Hospital.
The operator of the motorcycle is extremely fortunate he was not seriously injured, Potvin said. He was not wearing a helmet, but he did have one in a saddlebag on his motorcycle.
In Oxford County, Sheriff Wayne Gallant on Monday identified the victim in Sunday s fatal crash in Buckfield as Nichole A.
Byron, 30, of the town of Hartford.
Byron s car crossed the centerline of Route 117 around 3:30 p.m. Sunday and collided with a tractor-trailer driven by Kenneth Jamison, 48, of South Paris. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
On Saturday, a Massachusetts woman who was vacationing on Mount Desert Island died after her husband swerved to avoid an animal on Route 102 in Southwest Harbor.
Mike Miller, the town s acting police chief, said Pradeep Mohanraj, 31, of Lowell, Massachusetts, was driving north on Route 102 when an animal that looked like a rabbit ran into the road.
Mohanraj swerved, and the 2013 BMW X3 went onto a soft shoulder and rolled.
His wife, Arthi Nandhakumar, 24, was in a rear passenger seat with the couple s 5-month-old baby. The baby was belted into a car seat, but Nandhakumar was not wearing a seat belt. She was thrown through the vehicle s sunroof and got trapped under the vehicle when it turned over.
She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mohanraj and his child were treated for minor injuries at Mount Desert Island Hospital and released.
July and August have typically been the deadliest months for road fatalities in Maine, given the amount of traffic on the roads.
Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: