June 24, 2018
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Pedestrian killed in Bangor identified as local transient

By Dawn Gagnon and Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor police have released the identity of the man who was struck and killed by a Canadian motorist on Saturday evening.

Larry Furbush, 43, was pronounced dead in the Airport Mall Hannaford’s parking lot, Bangor police Sgt. Catherine Rumsey said in a news release Monday.

Furbush is a transient from the Bangor area.

The driver of the Buick Enclave was Darren Matheson, 48, of New Brunswick. No charges have been filed in connection with the death, Rumsey said.

According to Rumsey, it appears that the accident initially occurred on Vermont Avenue without Matheson realizing it.

After he was run over, Furbush apparently got caught underneath Matheson’s SUV and was dragged about three-quarters of a mile to the parking lot of the Hannaford supermarket at the Airport Mall.

When he arrived at Hannaford and got out of his vehicle, Matheson discovered Furbush’s body.

Weather conditions, poor visibility and Furbush’s dark-colored clothing are all considered factors in the accident, Rumsey said.

In accordance with state guidelines for investigating fatal accidents, toxicology tests were done on both the driver and the deceased. There were no indications at the time of the accident that the driver was under the influence. Those test results are pending, police said.

Bangor police Lt. Paul Edwards, who is one of the organizers of Saturday’s Bangor Homeless Walk, said Monday that the death had notes of irony.

“It was ironic that a couple hours later a homeless man, a transient, was run over,” Edwards said. “It was very, very sad.”

Tammy Aubut, 45, of Chicago is a cousin of Furbush. The two grew up near each other in the Belfast area.

“He was always such a quiet, shy kid,” Aubut said. “We were all tight growing up.”

After Aubut moved away, she fell out of touch with her cousin, but she knows at some point he fell into a struggle with addiction and homelessness.

“He was never a bad person,” she said. “We all lose our way sometimes in life and some don’t come back.”

Aubut said Furbush still has family living in the Bangor area, including his mother, a sister and nephews. He has other family scattered across New England, she said.

“They’re all beside themselves right now. They loved him,” Aubut said.

The family is hoping for answers regarding how this happened.

Furbush stayed occasionally at the Hope House, a homeless shelter for those with drug and alcohol addictions, said a fellow client who only wanted to be identified by his first name, Josh.

“He was a good guy. He just had a drinking problem,” the 20-year-old man said, standing in the Hope House parking lot.

The two Hope House residents had met earlier on the day Furbush died, he said.

“I saw him that day,” Josh said. “He was pretty intoxicated and I helped him to the bus stop.”

Others at the Hope House said he liked to hang out at the city bus stop located across the street from the shelter.

Word of Furbush’s death spread through the homeless community Monday afternoon.

“It’s pretty sad,” a 51-year-old Bangor man, who asked only to be identified as George, said standing outside of the Together Place, a drop-in social club providing peer support and recovery services for people with mental illnesses. “People are saying he was passed out in the road. It’s too bad. It is a sad thing.”

Edwards said the death is alcohol-related, but he could not confirm whether Furbush was passed out in the road.

“We’re not sure,” the lieutenant said. “I don’t know if we’ll ever know.”

Furbush is the 10th pedestrian to die this year in Maine after being struck by a vehicle, according to James Tanner, highway safety coordinator for the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety.

Tanner said Monday that Maine sees an average of 10 pedestrian deaths each year. In 2010, 12 Mainers died after being struck by a vehicle. There were another 11 pedestrian deaths in 2011 and nine in 2012, he said.

Four of the pedestrian deaths, including that of Furbush, that have occurred since 2010 happened in Bangor, Tanner said.

In October 2010, Robert Royal, 53, of Bangor died after he was struck by a pickup truck while walking on Hammond Street.

In June 2012, Joshua Constantine, 37, of Bangor died as the result of a hit-and-run accident near Shaw’s on Main Street. The following month, 57-year-old Brecon Oldham died after she was struck by a car near the highway overpass on Union Street. Patricia Giles, 53, of Brewer was sentenced to three years in prison, with all but nine months suspended, in connection with the death.

Saturday’s accident remains under investigation by the Bangor Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

BDN writer Nick McCrea contributed to this report.

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