Investigation in fatal Port Clyde crash uncovers no vehicle malfunction

Visitors walk along a pier in front of the Monhegan Boat Line dock in Port Clyde, Maine just days after the August 11 crash that killed a child, injured a family and damaged several parked cars.
Visitors walk along a pier in front of the Monhegan Boat Line dock in Port Clyde, Maine just days after the August 11 crash that killed a child, injured a family and damaged several parked cars.
Posted Sept. 27, 2013, at 11:02 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 27, 2013, at 5:38 p.m.

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PORT CLYDE, Maine — An exhaustive investigation into an Aug. 11 car crash that killed a child and injured two other people has failed to find any problems with the vehicle, according to the chief deputy of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Deputy Tim Carroll said Friday that the police reports on the case, contained in a 4-inch thick folder, have been turned over to the prosecutor’s office to determine whether any charges could result. Carroll cautioned that he may not have seen every document, but he is not aware of anything found as part of the investigation that indicates a vehicle malfunction.

The sheriff’s office, which is the lead investigating agency, does not make a recommendation on charges but leaves that to the district attorney.

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau said Friday he has received the report but does not know when he will review it and come up with a decision on how to proceed with the case.

Cheryl Torgerson, 61, of New York City was driving her 2007 Infiniti G-35 south at the end of Route 131, which leads to Port Clyde village, when her vehicle accelerated, struck one car and then pedestrian Jonathan Coggeshall. The car continued on, crashing into a building and careening along the wharf, striking six vehicles and hitting Allison Gold and her two children of Cohasset, Mass.

Gold’s 9-year-old son, Dylan, died. Her 6-year-old son, Wyatt, was released after a few days at Maine Medical Center in Portland. She was released from Maine Medical Center and moved to a rehabilitation center in Massachusetts. Coggeshall, 68, of Port Clyde, was released from Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport within a week of the crash.

Torgerson, who was not injured, told officers on the day of the accident that she could not recall what had happened.

Torgerson was interviewed at the time of the crash but has not been questioned a second time. She has hired an attorney and questions are being referred to her lawyer, Carroll said Friday.

There were 15-20 people interviewed, some more than once, Carroll said. Investigators also reconstructed the crash and performed a vehicle autopsy of Torgerson’s Infiniti, he said.

Torgerson’s vehicle has been returned to her, the chief deputy said.

Torgerson’s attorney Eric “Rick” Morse filed a motion in Knox County Superior Court on Sept. 12 for state police to return all data received from her vehicle’s electronic data recorder.

The motion claims that police didn’t have sufficient evidence to obtain the search warrant that allowed them to download the information from Torgerson’s vehicle.

Morse’s motion states that the district attorney’s office is objecting to releasing the information to her.

The crash has prompted town officials in St. George to address concerns of the public about the safety of the road at the heart of Port Clyde village.

The Board of Selectmen agreed on Sept. 16 to create a road safety survey committee that will look at ways to improve safety for motorists and pedestrians at the site of the crash. The first meeting of the committee is scheduled for Oct. 9, beginning at the town office and then traveling to Port Clyde village. The Maine Department of Transportation will have a representative at that meeting.

According to minutes of the St. George meeting of Sept. 16, installation of a stop sign or flashing light could be considered.

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