BELFAST — A resident of Finland visiting the city was killed in Augusta Tuesday morning when his car strayed into the opposite lane and collided head-on with an approaching vehicle. The driver of the other car was hospitalized with multiple injuries.
According to witness Cynthia Hargraves-Tobin, Ricardo V. Ferrer-Martin, 61, was driving west on Route 3 and had just crossed the Augusta city line when his Subaru Outback station wagon veered across the highway and crashed into a Chevrolet Lumina operated by Barry Howard, 60, of South China.
Ferrer-Martin died at the scene of the 7:15 a.m. accident. Howard was airlifted by LifeFlight to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, according to published reports.
Hargraves-Tobin, a Belfast school teacher, said she was traveling behind Ferrer-Martin and that he had been driving erratically since she encountered his Subaru about five miles from the Augusta line. Hargraves-Tobin said she reported the situation to the police, but officers were unable to arrive in time to prevent the accident.
“He was weaving all over the road for a considerable distance before it happened,” Hargraves-Tobin said Wednesday. “Eventually he crossed the line again and he hit the other car. It was a horrendous accident. It changed my life.”
Hargraves-Tobin said she stopped to give assistance but there was little she could do. She said she wrapped Ferrer-Martin in a beach towel to stanch bleeding from multiple wounds.
“I held him in my arms,” she said. “I held on to him and rubbed his back and told him he was going to be all right … I felt very inadequate; it was an awful feeling.”
Hargraves-Tobin said some time passed before police and emergency services arrived at the scene. She said a certified nursing assistant tended to Howard until ambulance personnel took over.
Belfast police Chief Jeffrey Trafton said Ferrer-Martin was a U.S. citizen who had been living in Finland. He said Ferrer-Martin was in the area visiting a relative. He said police notified the relative of his death and also contacted Ferrer-Martin’s mother, who lives in Florida.