Man killed in Windsor crash; responders save entrapped 17-year-old girl from burning wreckage

Posted Nov. 15, 2012, at 6:48 p.m.

WINDSOR, Maine — Police say it appears drugs and erratic driving led to a three-vehicle crash in Windsor that killed a 28-year-old man and left a 17-year-old girl with life-threatening injuries Thursday morning, according to the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Department.

As flames spread through one of the vehicles, police broke the rear window to rescue the girl, who was pinned inside.

The department is withholding the name of the deceased man until his family is notified, according to a department press release. The name of the 17-year-old also was not released because she is a juvenile.

Police received reports around 10:30 a.m. of a serious crash on Route 17 in Windsor. Emergency crews arrived to find three severely damaged vehicles.

Before the crash, a red 1989 Buick Reatta was reported to be speeding through Route 17 traffic, passing vehicles in the breakdown lane. The car, which was traveling north, eventually struck a van heading in the same direction, pushing the van into oncoming traffic, where it was struck head-on by a Toyota Highlander.

“The Reatta received significant front damage resulting in the immediate death of the male operator and serious life-threatening injuries to the 17-year-old girl,” Sheriff Randall Liberty said in a press release.

Deputy Jeremy Day and Sgt. Scott Mills, along with members of the Windsor Fire Department, arrived on the scene to find the Reatta partially on fire with the girl trapped inside. After breaking the window, “Deputy Day extinguished the flames with his hands and arms while others extinguished the flames with fire extinguishers,” said Liberty.

The girl was freed from the wreckage and taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston by LifeFlight helicopter. She suffered serious abdominal and leg injuries, according to the sheriff.

Day suffered minor burns and cuts, Liberty said.

Occupants of the van and the Toyota — Richard and Peggy Newcombe and James Tasse — were taken to the hospital by ambulance. The press release does not state which victims were in which vehicle. Peggy Newcombe was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland. Richard Newcombe was initially taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta before being transferred to CMMC.

Liberty said Thursday evening that he didn’t know their conditions.

“The initial investigation has revealed that drugs, erratic operation and speed are causation factors in this accident,” Liberty said. “Citizen reports of erratic operation prior to the accident demonstrate complete disregard for public safety. This was an unnecessary, tragic loss of life. I’m confident that the bravery of the deputies and firefighters in this incident saved the young girl’s life.”

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