Maine Maritime Academy is in mourning after two juniors were killed Sunday morning in a head-on collision on Route 1 in Stockton Springs.
The other vehicle was driven by an MMA alumnus who was returning to southern Maine after the school’s weekend homecoming festivities, according to police reports.
Students Richard Coakley, 20, of Mount Vernon and Matthew Felton, 21, of Merrimack, N.H., died instantly when their car was hit by a pickup truck that crossed the centerline, according to police reports. The accident occurred at 7:30 a.m. and Coakley was driving.
Police think the students had been returning to school,
Andrew Bradford, 53, of Kennebunk was the driver of the Ford pickup truck. He suffered multiple injuries and was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
Police checked the alcohol levels of both drivers. The accident is under investigation and police haven’t decided whether charges will be filed.
The accident reduced traffic to one lane around the crash site for six hours. State troopers and a Waldo County Sheriff’s Department deputy investigated the accident.
A campus official said the news had shaken the small Castine school.
“The campus is fairly somber this evening,” said Jeff Loustaunau, MMA commandant of midshipmen. “The two young men were well-known and good people. At a school of 800 students, an awful lot of people are affected.”
Coakley and Felton were in the engineering program and “had a lot of friends,” the commandant said.
“We’re trying to work in every way possible so that the students will have a way to express their grief and anxiety,” Loustaunau said.
A counselor will be made available to help the grieving students and officials have invited local clergy to help students, too. At 4 p.m. Tuesday, the school will hold a session in the student center to help students deal with grief and stress.
The memorial service has not yet been planned, but will happen “within the next week or so,” the commandant said.