Police seek witnesses in Shriner’s deadly go-cart crash

Posted Oct. 10, 2011, at 5:21 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 11, 2011, at 5:18 a.m.

NEWCASTLE, Maine — Investigators asked for help from the public Monday as they tried to piece together what caused a go-cart crash that killed an Anah Temple Shriner during a weekend performance at a pumpkin festival parade.

Sgt. Jason Nein of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department said investigators are interested in still pictures, videos or even written statements describing what attendees saw during the Shriners’ performance Saturday at the Damariscotta Pumpkin Fest Parade in Newcastle.

Marvin Tarbox Jr., 59, of Hancock was driving a go-cart on a ramp extending from the rear of a GMC Suburban, over its roof and down to the front of the vehicle when it crashed onto the pavement. Initial reports said at least two other go-carts struck Tarbox when their drivers didn’t realize what had happened.

Tarbox wasn’t wearing a helmet. He was taken to Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta, where he died.

Nein said investigators want to reconstruct the accident to find out whether the ramp collapsed because of the crash or whether the crash was caused by the ramp failing. Hundreds of people saw the accident and some had shot video or still pictures of the event, he said.

“It’s tragic this happened,” Nein said. The Shriners like performing but also do it to raise money for their causes, he said.

Shriners International is a fraternal organization with about 325,000 members in the United States and several other countries. It supports 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Shriners are a familiar part of parades as their go-carts follow carefully choreographed routes to the delight of street-side spectators.

The accident in Maine was not the first involving Shriners minivehicles, which appear in performances nationwide.

In Chattanooga, Tenn., a minicar and a dune buggy collided while they drove circles around each other during a 2007 parade. One of the vehicles ran into the crowd, sending five people to a hospital.

Nein says he can be reached by email at jnein@co.lincoln.me.us.

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