Two MCI students in fair condition after dramatic Pittsfield crash

Posted Sept. 19, 2011, at 5:42 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — Two teenage boys were listed in fair condition at a Bangor hospital on Monday afternoon after the car they were in flipped end over end three times Saturday evening.

Zachary Valente of Pittsfield and passenger Rikito Watanabe, both 17, were airlifted by LifeFlight helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center after the crash.

Valente suffered a concussion while Watanabe had several broken ribs, fractures to his spine and head trauma, said Pittsfield police Officer Jeff Vanadestine.

Both teens are students at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield. Watanabe is a foreign exchange student from Japan.

Valente’s red 2003 four-door Chevrolet Cavalier was traveling “well over the speed limit” of 45 mph on Somerset Avenue when he lost control of the car, according to Vanadestine. The car flipped several times and skidded on its roof for 177 feet before coming to a rest.

Pittsfield police received the call at 6:50 p.m.

“The condition of the car was unbelievable,” Vanadestine said Monday.

“It was pretty well mangled,” added Pittsfield police Sgt. Tim Roussin.

Police said there is no suspicion of alcohol use and both drivers were wearing their seat belts.

“If they didn’t have their seat belts on, they probably wouldn’t be with us today,” said Roussin.

Valente got his driver’s license in June. Vanadestine said he suspects that excessive speed and driver inexperience were major contributors in the crash.

“We don’t know why he was going the speed he was going,” said Vanadestine. “He doesn’t remember what happened.”

The accident is being reconstructed. It won’t be known for another week if charges will be filed, said Vanadestine.

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