June 24, 2018
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Sheriff’s Department vehicle strikes pedestrian in Belfast

By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff

BELFAST, Maine — A pedestrian who was struck by a Waldo County Sheriff’s Department vehicle Friday morning in a downtown crosswalk was able to walk away from the scene of the accident, according to police.

No charges will be filed, said Chief Mike McFadden of the Belfast Police Department.

Peter Kerrigan, 76, of Swanville had been walking up the Main Street sidewalk about 11:30 a.m. but paused before crossing Waldo Avenue.

Meanwhile, a county jail transport vehicle driven by Robert Walker, 39, of Stockton Springs stopped and signaled before turning left onto Waldo Avenue from Main Street, according to eyewitnesses, McFadden said.

“He’d stopped to make sure the intersection was safe. Once the way was clear, he proceeded,” McFadden said. “When the cruiser turned, the gentleman was simply standing there … at the time the cruiser turned, the gentleman decided he would start in the crosswalk.”

The vehicle, which witnesses said was moving slowly, struck Kerrigan.

“He didn’t get run over. He had time to jump onto the hood,” McFadden said. “The car stopped almost instantly.”

Kerrigan complained of hip pain, but refused treatment.

McFadden said that every time a pedestrian is hit, especially in a crosswalk, the police investigate.

“It doesn’t matter if they were hit by Joe the plumber or someone from the Sheriff’s Department,” he said.

But because of the high-profile nature of the accident, McFadden talked to Waldo County District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau.

“I ran the details of the case by him, without explaining who was involved,” the chief said. “He agreed with us that the circumstances here suggest that the operator of the vehicle was not in violation. When the gentleman walked into the crosswalk, he didn’t allow enough time.”

McFadden said that others could learn a lesson from the incident.

“It’s summertime. Pedestrians and motorists alike should operate under the assumption that they’re not entirely sure what the other person is going to do,” he said. “Err on the side of safety.”

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