June 25, 2018
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Driver in County truck-bicycle accident charged with traffic violation

By Julia Bayly, BDN Staff

WASHBURN, Maine — The driver of the truck involved in last Sunday’s accident that sent a bicycle racer to the hospital with multiple injuries has been charged with a traffic violation.

Kenneth Ayotte, 53, of Presque Isle was charged Friday with failure to yield to traffic on entering a public road, according to investigating Officer Roy Guidry of the Washburn Police Department.

The infraction carries a $139 fine.

“That will be it,” Guidry said late Friday afternoon. “There will not be any other charges.”

Cyclist Thad LaVallee of Boston was participating in the Presque Isle Time Trial Race held on Parsons Road when he either struck or was struck by a Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by Ayotte about six miles into the race.

LaVallee, 38, suffered multiple broken bones, fractures and lacerations and was taken by ambulance to The Aroostook Medical Center, where he has undergone surgery and continues to recover.

“We will probably never know what happened,” Guidry said. “The only thing I can say conclusively is [Ayotte’s] vehicle was at least partially in the road and the bicyclist was in the road.”

Ayotte told the officer he was pulling out of the driveway, stopped to make a comment to his passenger and heard the impact of LaVallee hitting the truck, Guidry said.

“That is why [Ayotte] didn’t see anything,” Guidry said. “There is no indication of any malicious intent.”

The accident serves as a strong reminder that all who travel on the roads must be aware of their surroundings, Guidry said.

“That’s why we have traffic laws,” he said. “We want to make the roads as safe as possible.”

LaVallee races for the Designturn Velocite USA Team out of Sharon, Mass., and has competed throughout North America and Europe as a professional elite cyclist for more than a decade, with close to 100 wins.

“I feel really badly this happened in our town,” Guidry said. “I wish Thad the best for his recovery.”

Reporter Julia Bayly was a participant in Sunday’s time trial race.

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