TRENTON, Maine — Investigators have determined that a man who drove off Route 3 on Friday night near the causeway onto Mount Desert Island died as a result of heart failure, not because of the accident itself, according to police.

Lt. Tim Cote of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department identified the man Saturday evening as Clyde Carter, 59, of Tremont. Police did not initially release Carter’s name Friday night because they were still trying to notify Carter’s relatives of his death.

Police also at first were unsure why Carter died but, after conferring with the state medical examiner’s office, determined the cause of death to be a heart attack, Cote said.

Carter was driving a 2005 Chrysler van south on the highway toward MDI around 7:15 p.m. Friday when the van crossed the northbound lane and went off the east side of the road, according to a press release issued by the sheriff’s department early Saturday morning.

The van struck two unattended vehicles parked by the side of Route 3 while their owners were across the road dining at the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound, according to Cote.

He said a Subaru wagon sustained about $500 in damage and a 2008 Toyota van sustained an estimated $4,000 in damage. Carter’s Chrysler sustained about $5,000 in damage when it crashed into the other two cars, he said.

The sheriff’s department was assisted at the crash scene by the Trenton Fire Department and County Ambulance. Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff McFarland is working to reconstruct the accident, Cote said.

Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....