Driver in fatal crash was trading texts with party-goers

Katrina Tetreault, 19, a cousin of Rebecca Mason, 16, whom was killed in an auto accident early Saturday, Jan, 7, 2012, in West Paris, is seen by a memorial for Mason on Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, in West Paris.
Amber Waterman, Sun Journal | AP
Katrina Tetreault, 19, a cousin of Rebecca Mason, 16, whom was killed in an auto accident early Saturday, Jan, 7, 2012, in West Paris, is seen by a memorial for Mason on Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, in West Paris.
Posted Jan. 09, 2012, at 3:58 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 09, 2012, at 8:49 p.m.
Kristina Lowe
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Kristina Lowe
Rebecca Mason
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Rebecca Mason
Jerrold Mason, father of Rebecca Mason, 16, who was killed in a car crash Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, is comforted by his mother-in-law Monda Fahsholtz while he talks about the crash from his home in West Paris.
Shawn Patrick Ouellette, Portland Press Herald | AP
Jerrold Mason, father of Rebecca Mason, 16, who was killed in a car crash Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, is comforted by his mother-in-law Monda Fahsholtz while he talks about the crash from his home in West Paris.
Flowers placed by friends and family members of Rebecca Mason, 16, and Logan Dam, 19, are seen at the site of the car accident that killed them both, on Route 219 in West Paris. The driver, Kristina Lowe, 18, of West Paris, is in critical condition at Maine Medical Center in Portland and another passenger, Jacob Skaff, 22, of South Paris, suffered a head injury.
Amber Waterman, Sun Journal | AP
Flowers placed by friends and family members of Rebecca Mason, 16, and Logan Dam, 19, are seen at the site of the car accident that killed them both, on Route 219 in West Paris. The driver, Kristina Lowe, 18, of West Paris, is in critical condition at Maine Medical Center in Portland and another passenger, Jacob Skaff, 22, of South Paris, suffered a head injury.

WEST PARIS, Maine — A teenage driver had been drinking alcohol and was texting back and forth with friends at a party when her car crashed, killing two passengers, including a 16-year-old she had just picked up, investigators said Monday.

State police detectives were continuing their investigation into the early Saturday crash in West Paris and were looking into the party and trying to determine where the teenagers obtained alcohol, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said.

The driver, 18-year-old Kristina Lowe of Paris, had left the party with some friends and picked up an additional passenger before attempting to return to the party, McCausland said.

The car went airborne and crashed into trees, killing two passengers, 19-year-old Logan Dam and 16-year-old Rebecca Mason, both of West Paris. Another passenger, 22-year-old Jacob Skaff of Paris, was treated at a hospital and then released. Lowe remained hospitalized on Monday.

Troopers cited alcohol and driver inattention as factors in the crash.

“Two lives were lost so that’s the focal point where troopers are trying to answer all questions that revolve around the crash itself,” McCausland said. “The related issue of the alcohol and the underage party are issues that we will deal with, but the focus is the crash investigation.”

Mason’s father, Jerrold Mason, told the Portland Press Herald that he thought his daughter was in bed but it appeared that she had sneaked out. He said he was told that his daughter’s friends were making a run to a convenience store for beer and cigarettes before heading back to the party.

The crash happened around 12:15 a.m. a few miles from the Mason home.

Troopers will conduct a full investigation and turn their findings over to the district attorney before a decision is made on charges, McCausland said.

Texting while driving has been illegal in Maine since September, and Maine has a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol consumption for drivers under age 21.

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