May 24, 2018
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Autopsy sheds little light on cause of fatal accident

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

TOWNSHIP 3 INDIAN PURCHASE, Maine — The state police investigation continues, but exactly what caused a Millinocket man to veer sharply off Route 11 and hit a tree in an accident that killed him Saturday night remains a mystery.

An autopsy performed Tuesday on the body of 57-year-old Mark Knopf revealed only that he died from the blunt trauma to his chest caused by the collision, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta said.

Knopf was traveling north on Route 11 about two miles outside of Millinocket when, witnesses said, his SUV suddenly veered across the southbound lane into a hemlock tree at about 1:20 p.m. A Millinocket Fire Department ambulance took him to Millinocket Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, state police said.

State Trooper Adam Coover said Saturday that what caused Knopf’s sudden turn was unknown but the autopsy might reveal a medical issue that contributed to it.

Coover did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment on Tuesday.

The 2006 Saturn Vue Knopf drove was totaled in the crash, but based on witness statements, excessive speed does not appear to have been a factor in the accident, Coover said Saturday.

Knopf had been working outdoors in the morning cutting wood, which might have been a factor in the accident, Coover said.

Several of his friends were traveling in other vehicles in front of his and saw part of the accident, Coover said.

The autopsy concluded that Knopf’s death was accidental.

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