Texting leads to crash, car fire in Ellsworth

Posted July 16, 2011, at 4:18 p.m.
Last modified July 17, 2011, at 10:34 a.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A young woman told police she was text messaging on her cell phone Saturday when she crashed her car into a row of rocks, causing the fuel line to puncture and the vehicle to catch fire.

Paige Boynton, 24, of Trenton did exit the vehicle before her Subaru Forester was engulfed in flames, Ellsworth Police Officer Christopher Smith said Saturday afternoon.

The accident took place on Branchview Drive in Ellsworth, a private road off Happytown Road near the public boat access to Branch Lake.

Smith said Boynton apparently became distracted while using her phone and went off the road. She rolled over a row of large boulders and the impact tore up the underneath of her vehicle including her fuel line.

Although Boynton escaped unharmed, Smith said the car was badly burned and not salvageable.

Boynton was not charged Saturday, but the officer said she may be issued a summons for distracted driving.

Earlier this year, lawmakers passed legislation that makes it illegal to text message while driving. Gov. Paul LePage signed the law in early June but it does not take effect until September, 90 days after the legislative session ended.

Maine will become the 33rd state, along with the District of Columbia and Guam, that has banned text messaging by all drivers, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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