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Long Lake accident victim drowned, but cause of crash undetermined

Courtesy of Beurmond Banville
Courtesy of Beurmond Banville
Gilberto Rentas, 27, of Madawaska and formerly of Connecticut, died July 8, 2011, when his vehicle left Route 162 at Sinclair and struck this boat launch and boat before sinking in Long Lake.
By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Madawaska man who drove off Route 162 and crashed his vehicle into Long Lake in Sinclair nine months ago succumbed to drowning, an official with the state medical examiner’s office said Wednesday.

Mark Belserene, administrator at the office, also said the manner of death of 27-year-old Gilberto Rentas remains undetermined, meaning it is unclear what caused him to drive off the road and into the lake.

Rentas, a former Connecticut resident, was pronounced dead at the scene of the July 8 crash that happened just before 12:30 p.m. that day.

The 27-year-old was driving a 2008 Nissan Xterra southbound on Route 162 when he failed to negotiate a curve and the car went through the parking lot of Long Lake Sporting Club, struck a boat launch, a dock and a boat and ended up in the lake.

Witnesses who were near the accident scene said Rentas’ rental car traveled at a high rate of speed toward the lake and there were no signs that brakes were applied before the vehicle veered into the water.

Rentas died at the scene despite the efforts of volunteers who attempted to extricate him from the vehicle as it was sinking. His body was recovered later the same day in approximately 15 feet of water by a Maine State Police diver.

Belserene said he could not comment any further on the matter.

Sgt. Forrest Dudley of the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Department investigated the crash. He was on vacation Thursday and unavailable for comment.

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