Driver who hit pedestrians, killing 9-year-old, in Port Clyde doesn’t recall what happened

Driver Cheryl Torgerson (from left), Knox County Sheriff's Sgt. John Palmer and Lt. Kirk Guerette look over the car that Torgerson was driving after she allegedly lost control, struck several cars and a family, killing a 9-year-old boy, Sunday afternoon at the Monhegan Boat Landing in Port Clyde.
Ron Hawkes Photography | Special to the BDN
Driver Cheryl Torgerson (from left), Knox County Sheriff's Sgt. John Palmer and Lt. Kirk Guerette look over the car that Torgerson was driving after she allegedly lost control, struck several cars and a family, killing a 9-year-old boy, Sunday afternoon at the Monhegan Boat Landing in Port Clyde.
By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted Aug. 12, 2013, at 9:59 a.m.

PORT CLYDE, Maine — A New York City woman who was the driver of a car that plowed into people and cars on a Port Clyde wharf Sunday afternoon does not recall what happened, according to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

The crash killed 9-year-old Dylan Gold of Cohasset, Mass., and seriously injured his 50-year-old mother, Allison Gold, and 6-year-old brother, Wyatt. Both remain at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Allison Gold was listed Monday afternoon in critical condition. Wyatt was listed in fair condition.

Jonathan Coggeshall, 68, of Port Clyde, who also was hit by the car, is hospitalized at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport with a hip injury.

Sheriff Donna Dennison said the driver of the car, Cheryl Torgerson, 61, was taken to Pen Bay Medical but was not seriously injured. Torgerson underwent a blood test, which is a routine procedure in a fatal crash, the sheriff said. There was no indication that Torgerson was under the influence of intoxicants, the sheriff said.

Torgerson said she does not recall what happened other than the car sped up, Chief Deputy Tim Carroll said. Dennison said the woman appeared to be in shock.

The accelerator was down, Carroll said. Torgerson’s car has been impounded and will be taken to a secure storage facility in Warren until Maine State Police Trooper Chris Rogers can inspect it to determine if there was a mechanical problem with the 2007 Infiniti.

The accident occurred at 2:45 p.m. Sunday while Torgerson was traveling south toward the ferry wharf and parking area. The woman told police that she was going to get on the ferry to Monhegan. The Infiniti then accelerated, struck a car and spun it around. The initial impact resulted in her airbag deploying, Carroll said. The car then struck Coggeshall and pushed him into the Sea Star Shop where crafts are sold, Carroll said.

The car continued on and struck five other vehicles parked at the dock, then the Massachusetts family members, who had just arrived to board the ferry for a two-week vacation on Monhegan. The children’s father, Howard Gold, was still in the family’s van and witnessed the crash.

Rescue staff worked on the 9-year-old boy at the scene but he died on the way to the hospital, Dennison said.

Two LifeFlight helicopters landed at a town ballfield located 3½ miles from the crash scene to airlift the mother and younger son to Portland. Port Clyde is at the end of a 13-mile peninsula off Route 1.

Carroll said the scene was a difficult one for responders.

“I have a 9-year-old son. It makes you think and appreciate what you have,” he said.

There will be a debriefing for all personnel who went to the crash scene, Carroll said, and a counselor will be on hand. The sheriff said a pastor also will be invited to attend.

“A pastor can offer comfort at times like this,” she said.

Carroll said officers were at the scene past 9 p.m. Sunday.

A member of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office is working with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office to map out the sequence of the crash.

Members of the St. George Emergency Medical Service, St. George Fire Department, South Thomaston Fire Department and Rockland Emergency Medical Services went to the scene.

Dennison praised the St. George crew for its quick response and its efforts in the aftermath of the crash.

Jim Barstow of St. George said Monday that the Elizabeth Ann, one of two ferries to Monhegan, was at the dock when the accident happened. The 65-foot vessel, which can carry up to 150 passengers, was scheduled to leave at 3 p.m.

The area is typically very busy during the summer. There is a restaurant and general store adjacent to the Monhegan pier.

Barstow, who has retired as captain of the vessels, said Monday that the crash was a horrible thing. The community, however, rallied as it always does during a tragedy, he said.

“Within minutes there were three doctors, three or four EMTs, three nurses — they came out of nowhere,” he said. “It may have looked like chaos, but they were caring for the people in an orderly way.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/08/12/news/midcoast/driver-of-car-that-hit-mother-two-sons-in-port-clyde-says-she-doesnt-recall-what-happened/ printed on September 21, 2014