12-year-old girl killed when tractor-trailer carrying sawdust tips over, crashes into van

A 12-year-old girl from Connecticut died Wednesay morning after the mini-van she was riding in in Farmington was struck by a tractor-trailer truck driven by Charles Willey, 53, of Dexter. The van is owned by a Y camp in Colebrook and was traveling from Acadia National Park to a park in Vermont.
Donna Perry | Sun Journal
A 12-year-old girl from Connecticut died Wednesay morning after the mini-van she was riding in in Farmington was struck by a tractor-trailer truck driven by Charles Willey, 53, of Dexter. The van is owned by a Y camp in Colebrook and was traveling from Acadia National Park to a park in Vermont.
Posted Aug. 17, 2011, at 1:13 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 18, 2011, at 1:25 p.m.
Tess Meisel of Westport, Conn., was killed in an early morning collision
in Farmington when a tractor-trailer carrying sawdust rear-ended the
minivan she was traveling in with other Y campers from her hometown.
Photo courtesy of Westport Patch
Tess Meisel of Westport, Conn., was killed in an early morning collision in Farmington when a tractor-trailer carrying sawdust rear-ended the minivan she was traveling in with other Y campers from her hometown.

FARMINGTON, Maine — A 12-year-old Connecticut girl visiting Maine was killed Wednesday morning after the minivan she was riding in was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer loaded with sawdust along U.S. Route 2, state police said.

Tess Meisel of Westport, Conn., was sitting in the rear seat when the crash occurred near a major intersection about 9:20 a.m., said Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland.

Maine State Police are investigating whether Charles Willey, 53, of Dexter, who was behind the wheel of the big rig owned by Linkletter Trucking of Athens, will face any charges, McCausland said.

After the truck struck the minivan carrying Meisel and two other campers from a Y camp in Colebrook, Conn., the tractor-trailer overturned and spilled its load of sawdust onto a traffic island on the outskirts of town near the junction of Routes 2 and 4.

The crash spared two other girls and the van’s 23-year-old driver, Charles Powell of Colebrook, Conn. Powell and Willey were taken to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington with injuries that were not life-threatening. The two other children were identified as Samantha Hollender, 15, and Samantha Gaivao, 13, both from Connecticut.

The campers were traveling from Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island to a park in Vermont.

State troopers and members of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit are working with Farmington police to investigate the crash.

Meisel’s body was taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta. There will be an examination, but no autopsy will be performed, a spokeswoman for the office said.

According to the Westport Patch, a Connecticut news website, Meisel was awarded the top environment honor by the Connecticut Environmental Forum in May for her environmentally friendly invention of a reusable and renewable pizza box.

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