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Bangor police review surveillance tape in Broadway fatal crash investigation

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Bangor police investigate a three-vehicle crash on Broadway that took the life of one person on Sunday, June 10, 2012.
By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Police went to Tom T’s on Broadway on Wednesday and reviewed video from its surveillance cameras caught Sunday night during the fatal crash that occurred right in front of the convenience store, Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards confirmed.

“They’re looking at these sorts of things and as far as I know, nothing has been yielded in the case,” the sergeant said.

Police say Ralph Morrison, 72, was driving a 2007 Hyundai minivan out Broadway about 6 p.m. Sunday when he first struck a 2000 Toyota Camry, also heading outbound, and then went out of control and hit head-on a 2002 GMC Envoy heading into Bangor.

The collision, which occurred at the junction of Broadway and Burleigh Road, resulted in the death of Morrison’s wife, Diane Morrison, 68.

She was his passenger and died at the scene. Seven people, including Morrison, were injured in the deadly crash. Morrison is so badly hurt that police investigators — three days later — have not been able to interview him. Without the interview, police have not been able to determine if he had some sort of medical condition that caused him to accelerate, Edwards said.

Morrison is at Eastern Maine Medical Center, as are the three people who were in the Envoy. The SUV’s driver, Lisa Pelkey, 46, and her passengers, husband Ray Pelkey and daughter Alyssa Pelkey, 11, remained at the hospital on Wednesday, Edwards said.

The four injured motorists or their family members have asked that their conditions not be released to the public, hospital officials have said.

Several eyewitnesses at the accident scene on Sunday said it was the Envoy that was speeding and caused the accident, a statement supported by the Tom T’s video, store clerk Laura White said Wednesday night. She said she was not working Sunday night and didn’t see the fatal crash, but has watched the surveillance camera video.

“I saw an SUV,” she said. “The cops still are saying they saw the van. It doesn’t look like a van to me. Everyone else who saw it and was there are saying it was the SUV.”

Edwards said he is well aware of the controversy about which vehicle caused the accident.

“I’m hearing the conspiracy theories,” he said. “I totally understand about the confusion. It’s difficult when you have two cars with similar colors.”

Morrison’s minivan was a blue-gray color and the Envoy was a silver-gray.

A number of people have posted comments on the Bangor Police Department’s Facebook page and on Bangor Daily News stories that insist police are wrong about what caused the fatal crash.

Eyewitnesses are often in shock after accidents, especially fatal collisions, Edwards said, adding that while statements are important, investigators must rely on the evidence they collect at the scene. In this case, the evidence collected so far shows Morrison’s vehicle was speeding and struck the two other vehicles, the sergeant said.

“The evidence is what it is,” Edwards said.

Police still are interested in talking to people who witnessed the fatal crash or have information about it. Those with information are asked to contact the Bangor Police Department at 947-7382. The anonymous tip line can be accessed by pressing ext. 6.

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