June 19, 2018
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Knox County sheriff seeks state review of Route 1 stretch where fatal crash occurred

Stephen Betts | BDN
Stephen Betts | BDN
The Knox County sheriff wants the Maine Department of Transportation to review the safety of this stretch of Route 1 in Warren.
By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

WARREN, Maine — A lengthy investigation into a head-on collision last month that claimed the life of one woman and seriously injured two passengers has not turned up a definitive cause, according to the sheriff.

But Knox County Sheriff Donna Dennison said Thursday that the department has contacted the Maine Department of Transportation to review the safety of that stretch of Route 1. She said rumble strips along the center line may make sense.

Samuel Simmons, 18, of Spruce Head was heading north on Route 1 at about 7:30 a.m. on March 20 when his 1997 GMC Sierra pickup truck crossed the center line near the intersection of Western Road and struck a southbound 2003 Subaru Forester driven by Alison Low, 38, of Warren.

Low died at the scene of the crash. Her 18-year-old son, Dustin Kimball of Warren, was seriously injured but has since been released from the hospital. Kimball’s girlfriend, Olivia Blachet, 18, of Waldoboro, also was seriously injured. Five weeks after the crash, she remained at Maine Medical Center in Portland, where a hospital spokeswoman said Thursday that Blachet was in fair condition.

Drugs and alcohol did not play a role in the crash, the sheriff said, pointing out that tests done on the drivers showed no substances were present. Texting also was ruled out as a cause, she said.

Simmons has no recollection of the crash and he may have fallen asleep, the sheriff said.

Dennison said there have been several serious crashes along that stretch of Route 1 over the years she has been with the department.

She said she is waiting to hear back from officials with the transportation department about what steps, if any, might be taken to improve safety on that stretch of highway.

According to a BDN report from September 2013, about 18 miles of centerline rumble strips were first installed beginning in 2006 on stretches of U.S. Route 1 in Woolwich and other roads in Dedham, Bangor and Trenton.

The number of crashes along those stretches of road decreased by 50 percent in the years after the installation, the report said.


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