Shirley man dies after being struck by vehicle on Route 15

Posted Dec. 19, 2011, at 11:01 a.m.
Last modified Dec. 19, 2011, at 10:12 p.m.

SHIRLEY, Maine — A Shirley man is dead after he was struck by a vehicle while out for a walk on Route 15 Saturday evening.

Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Lt. Bob Young said Norman Pelletier, 67, was walking on the southbound side of the road when he was struck by a northbound car driven by neighbor John Ponkala, also of Shirley, just before 7 p.m.

Pelletier was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ponkala allegedly fell asleep at the wheel as he and his two passengers were returning from a shopping trip.

“He didn’t realize he had fallen asleep,” said Young. “They didn’t know what they had hit, so they got home and they called [911]. He drifted right across the opposite lane and the victim was walking on the shoulder of the road and got hit.”

Young said that Pelletier was wearing a reflective vest, and that he regularly walked on Route 15.

The speed limit on that section of Route 15, three miles south of the Greenville town line, is 55 miles per hour. Young said it’s unknown whether speed or alcohol were factors in the incident. Authorities were on the scene Monday morning reconstructing the incident.

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