Canadian relatives come to Bangor to be with sisters hit by van

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 16, 2012, at 5:49 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Family members of the Canadian sisters struck by a vehicle on Hogan Road last Sunday night have crossed the border to be with them and meet the off-duty nurse credited with helping to save the life of one of them.

One of the sisters, Carole Day, 66, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, has been discharged from Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. The other, Sandra Samuel, 62, of Lutes Mountain, New Brunswick, was still listed in critical condition at the hospital Friday afternoon.

Bonnie Martin, a cardiovascular nurse for Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems’ Center for Family Medicine in Bangor, and daughter Ashley Patterson, a radiographer at The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle, were behind the van that struck the women after the light turned from red to green.

Willis Martin, 81, of Brewer was driving the van when the accident occurred on Nov. 11, police said. He was traveling southbound on Hogan Road toward Applebees, where he planned on joining friends for a complimentary Veterans Day dinner.

Bonnie Martin, who is not related to Willis Martin, said he has called her a few times since the accident to ask how the women were doing. He told Bonnie Martin he never saw the sisters, who were dressed in dark clothing when they attempted to cross the busy road near the Olive Garden parking lot after dark at around 6 p.m. There are no sidewalks or crosswalks on Hogan Road.

The off-duty nurse and her five-months-pregnant daughter helped the victims until police and fire-rescue personnel arrived.

“I certainly wasn’t trying to be a hero,” the nurse said. “I just wanted to give her a chance.”

A teacher who happened by the scene sat with Willis Martin at the side of the road, trying to calm the visibly shaken man, according to Bonnie Martin.

“He is struggling,” Bonnie Martin said. “He just wants them to survive. He did not mean to do that. He literally did not see them.”

“He’s not a malicious 81-year-old. He’s a very sweet, generous, compassionate, caring man,” Bonnie Martin said of Willis Martin.

A half-dozen members of the sisters’ family made the trip from Canada and contacted Bonnie Martin this week. A few others are attempting to get visas to cross the border, she said.

Bonnie Martin said they were “just an amazing family.”

“They wanted to say thank you,” she said. “It was a very emotional visit.”

“They’re devastated, but they’re hopeful and optimistic,” she added.

The injured sisters were part of a Canadian bus shopping tour that was visiting Bangor — a popular trend that is bringing more on-foot visitors to the Bangor Mall area.

Officers from the Orono Police Department’s accident reconstruction team are assisting in the investigation because Bangor police didn’t have a reconstruction team available at the time, according to Orono police Capt. Josh Ewing. He said the review likely would take at least a few weeks. The findings will be passed back to Bangor.

Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said this week he doesn’t anticipate any charges in connection with the crash, but that the department would review the findings of the reconstruction team when its work is finished.

The city expects to learn in the spring of 2013 whether it will receive a $167,000 state grant to build

a sidewalk and three crosswalks on the section of Hogan Road that stretches from the intersection with Stillwater Avenue to the entrance to the Bangor Mall. The city applied for the grant over the summer, according to Public Works Director Dana Wardwell.

Bonnie Martin said she hopes the city is able to make the area safer for pedestrians as the city continues to grow and draw more visitors and foot traffic.

“We can get something positive from this very horrific event,” she said.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/11/16/news/bangor/canadian-relatives-come-to-bangor-to-be-with-sisters-hit-by-van/ printed on November 26, 2014