January 20, 2018
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Locals say death of Ellsworth man in blizzard ‘a tragic, tragic accident’

By CBS 13

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A body was found Friday in the snow after last week’s blizzard.

Richard Turnbull spotted Paul Bouffard’s car in a snowbank at 2:30 a.m. after last week’s blizzard as he plowed the road.

Police say he saw footprints, but didn’t see anybody.

Police say Bouffard’s car got stuck in the snow.

They suspect he tried to make it down a hill, about 150 yards to his father’s house, when he likely became disoriented in the whiteout and below freezing temperatures.

“Unfortunately in the dark of night and the area where he was, you couldn’t really tell the difference between the road and fields around it,” Ellsworth Police Chief Glenn Moshier told CBS 13. “With the driving snow and the dark and the freezing cold, you quickly become disoriented.”

Said Turnbull: “He made it down the bottom of the hill to where that clump of trees are.”

Bouffard’s sister says he was found about 100 yards from their father’s home. Police believe he died of exposure before he could make it.

Hypothermia can cause people to become disoriented, leading to what’s known as paradoxical disrobing, where the brain interprets the death of nerve endings as heat.

“His jacket was unzipped, his shirt was unbuttoned, so there was certainly some indication that that was possible,” Moshier said.

Police say Bouffard only had to drive a mile and a half to his dad’s house.

“I don’t think anybody will know what went through the young man’s mind,” Turnball said. “It was a tragic, tragic accident. And we’re all broken up about it.”

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