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Two still in hospital five days after fatal Eddington accident

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Penobscot Sheriff Deputy William Birch pulls debris from the ditch and piles it next to one of two vans that were involved in a head-on collision on Route 9 in Eddington on Thursday, September 1, 2011.
By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Clifton resident Milton Rennebu and a 10-year-old boy from Halifax, Nova Scotia — the two people critically injured in an accident that killed two local women last Thursday in Eddington — are still in the hospital, Penobscot County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Troy Morton said Tuesday.

Both are in Eastern Maine Medical Center’s intensive care unit and listed in critical condition, he said.

“There is no change in status and probably will not be for some time, it appears,” Morton said.

Rennebu and his fiancee, Judi Sampson, both 30, were passengers in a minivan driven by his mother, Ruth Rennebu, 63, which was hit head-on when a Canadian man driving his three children to Boston fell asleep at the wheel.

Both Rennebu’s mother and fiancee died at the scene of the deadly collision, which occurred at around 2:15 p.m. Thursday and threw debris all over the roadway.

“He’s stable and he’s progressing,” a family member of Rennebu said on Tuesday evening. “So far he’s held his own, but he’s still in critical condition.”

Rennebu, who has three sisters and a brother who all live in the area, had emergency heart surgery on Saturday to repair a torn aorta caused by blunt trauma to his chest and has had other surgeries to fix his broken legs, the relative said. She asked not to be identified.

Hugh Fraser, 44, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, told police he was traveling with his three sons, ages 5, 10 and 13, towards Bangor when he “fell asleep, crossing the centerline and striking the second van head-on,” Morton said last week.

All four Canadians were injured in the two-vehicle crash and Fraser’s 10-year-old son remained in critical condition, the deputy chief said Tuesday. The nature of the boy’s injuries was not released.

Information about Hugh Fraser’s injuries and those of his other two sons was not available Tuesday.

Fraser served as press secretary to former Nova Scotia Premier John Hamm between November 2004 and March 2006 and now runs his own communications firm.

His wife, Amy Pugsley Fraser, flew to Maine to be with her family last week, according to The Chronicle Herald in Halifax, where both have worked in the past.

“Both are well-known in Halifax media and political circles,” the paper’s online story about the fatal accident states. “Pugsley Fraser now covers municipal politics for allnovascotia.com after working the same beat at this newspaper until 2009. Fraser is the president of Fraser and Sons Communications Inc.,” and has worked as a producer at CBC Radio and CBC Newsworld.

Messages left for the Fraser family were not immediately returned on Tuesday.

A black Labrador retriever named Tikka who was riding in Rennebu’s minivan and who initially was reported killed is recovering from a broken leg, Rennebu’s family member wanted people to know.

Visiting hours for Sampson’s friends and family are 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Kiley & Foley Funeral Service on Union Street in Bangor and a service honoring her life is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday at Harrington Baptist Church.

Sampson, a Bangor High School graduate and mother of three young children, “was a caring and compassionate person who always put her children and family first,” her obituary states.

She will be buried at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Harrington and afterwards a celebration of her life will be held 6-8 p.m. Friday at The Salvation Army Church on Park Street in Bangor.

Rennebu’s siblings, joined by other family members and friends, have spent the last five days at EMMC, his relative said. The funeral for their mother has been delayed by Rennebu’s brother and sisters in hopes that he soon will be able to attend.

“Mostly, we’re just in shock,” she said. “We don’t know how to feel. We’re numb.”

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