Police identify Topsham man killed in Monday crash, the 2nd fatal crash on same stretch of Route 196 in 8 days

Posted Dec. 17, 2013, at 11:15 a.m.
Last modified Dec. 17, 2013, at 5:41 p.m.

TOPSHAM, Maine — Police on Tuesday identified a Topsham man killed Monday night in a head-on collision on Route 196 near Dewey Drive as Richard Wright. The incident occurred about 100 yards from the site of a Dec. 9 fatal crash.

Wright, 71, was pronounced dead at the scene, Topsham police Lt. Frederick Dunn said Tuesday evening. His 1999 Ford Ranger was headed toward Topsham when it apparently struck a 2003 Ford station wagon and then traveled about a mile before crossing the centerline on Route 196 and striking a Chevrolet Tahoe head-on at about 8:30 p.m.

The driver of the Tahoe, 70-year-old Howard Wilson of Lisbon, suffered injuries to his lower extremities and was in good condition Tuesday morning at Central Maine Medical Center, according to Dunn. The driver of the station wagon, 39-year-old Nichole O’Farrell of Lewiston, was uninjured.

“It appears … that the Ford sideswiped the [vehicle] and pushed her into a ditch, then continued on about a mile and hit the Tahoe head-on,” Dunn said. “We’re not sure if drugs or alcohol were involved, or if [Wright] had a medical condition, but obviously there was some issue if you don’t stop when you have an accident.”

Route 196 was closed from the time of the crash until about midnight while police cleared the scene and did accident reconstruction. Dunn said he expects the results of the reconstruction in about a week, but the results of blood tests on the drivers could take up to a month.

The crash occurred about 100 yards from the site of a Dec. 9 crash in which Salima Nuh, 37, of Auburn was killed after 52-year-old Robert Robitaille of Lisbon apparently fell asleep and his truck crossed the centerline on Route 196 and struck her vehicle.

“We’ve had several crashes [in that area] and a few fatal crashes,” Dunn said. “You’re traveling down a hill and around a corner. But obviously there were other factors. I can’t say it’s any different than any other road.”

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