DEDHAM, Maine — Toxicology tests released Friday say an 85-year-old Iowa man, a former mayor of Des Moines, was driving drunk and speeding on Aug. 5 when he crossed the centerline and collided head-on with an oncoming pickup truck with two Bangor people inside.
“Troopers report Richard Olson’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.14 and that his SUV was traveling 76 miles an hour in a 55-mile-an-hour zone when it crossed the centerline on Route 1A and slammed into a pickup truck driven by Phillip Carter,” Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said in a press release.
Olson, who was driving to his summer home in Ellsworth, and Bangor residents Carter, 32, and Roxanne Papken, 25, died in the violent two-vehicle crash on Route 1A in Dedham about a mile from the Lucerne Inn, where police say Olson had his last drink.
“Olson had spent much of the day at the Hollywood Casino in Bangor and he had just left the Lucerne Inn,” McCausland said, referring to lead investigator Trooper Gregory Roy’s report. “A witness reported seeing Olson drink half of a martini at the Inn. There is no indication where he may have consumed additional alcohol for his [blood alcohol concentration] to reach 0.14. The legal limit [for operating a vehicle] in Maine is 0.08.”
Carter and Papken worked at Paddy Murphy’s, a popular bar and restaurant in downtown Bangor. After learning of the deaths, the restaurant closed and soon after other downtown eating and drinking establishments closed for the night with employees, friends and family gathering at the pub to mourn.
People placed flowers around the entrance to Paddy Murphy’s and on the bar stool where Carter used to sit just outside the door, often reading a book. Others wrote messages of love on the windows or on notes left mixed with the flowers.
Several groups within the tight-knit downtown business community raised money for the loved ones left behind. Carter is survived by a young daughter.
The side of the road on which Carter was driving, heading toward Bangor, has two lanes. Olson, driving a Chevrolet Tahoe, “crossed the centerline, traveled through a passing lane and then collided with Carter’s pickup close to the fog line alongside the travel lane,” McCausland said. “The violent crash caused the truck’s cab to be separated from its frame.”
Tire impressions along the shoulder of the roadway show that Carter unsuccessfully attempted to get out of the way, state police Lt. Rod Charette has said.