Alton teen dies in weekend crash

Old Town High School student Cody Hamm,16, lost control of his car late Sunday and crashed into this pine tree (seen on left) off Route 16,a short distance from his family's home in Alton. Photographed Monday afternoon, March 8, 2010. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
BDN
Old Town High School student Cody Hamm,16, lost control of his car late Sunday and crashed into this pine tree (seen on left) off Route 16,a short distance from his family's home in Alton. Photographed Monday afternoon, March 8, 2010. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Posted March 08, 2010, at 11:04 a.m.

ALTON, Maine — Cody Hamm, 16, was heading home when his car went off the side of Bennoch Road late Sunday and he crashed into a pine tree. The teenager, a junior and an honor student at Old Town High School, was pronounced dead at the scene, Sgt. William Birch of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department said Monday morning.

“It appears the vehicle left the side of the roadway, went airborne and struck the tree on its roof,” he said. “It was almost upside down.”

A motorist reported the crash to police at 10:25 p.m., Birch said, adding Hamm was alone in his white 2000 Saturn.

“He was a short distance from his home,” he said. “He was heading home.”

The crash happened near Happy Acres about 4½ miles north of Interstate 95. Bennoch Road, also known as Route 16, was closed to traffic between 10:30 p.m. Sunday and around 3 a.m. Monday, while investigators collected evidence and reconstructed the scene.

“It appears at this initial stage [of the investigation] that speed may be a contributing factor,” Birch said. “We’re still trying to figure out contributing factors — what led to this accident.”

Investigators think Hamm was not wearing a seat belt, Birch said, and alcohol and drugs were not involved in the crash. Several rumors are circulating that need to be dispelled, he said.

“He was not being chased,” the sergeant stressed.

Police were at the scene until late morning, Birch said.

Old Town High School officials informed students of their classmate’s death at a special morning meeting at the high school, Superintendent David Walker said. The junior class was told before the rest of the student body, he said.

Hamm was a musician and a baseball player, Walker said. He was well liked by his peers at the school.

“It will take awhile for this to sink in,” he said.

Guidance staff is available for students who need extra support in dealing with the loss of their friend and classmate, Walker said.

BDN writer Meg Haskell contributed to this report.

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