July 23, 2019
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Family of boy killed on Port Clyde wharf sues car driver, ferry line

RON HAWKES | Ron Hawkes Photography
RON HAWKES | Ron Hawkes Photography
From left, vehicle operator Cheryl Torgerson, Knox County Sheriff's Sgt. John Palmer and Lt. Kirk Guerette look over the car that Torgerson was driving after she allegedly lost control, struck several cars and a family, killing a 9-year-old boy at the Monhegan Boat Landing in Port Clyde in this August 2013 photo.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The family of a Massachusetts boy, who was killed nearly two years ago when a car driven by a New York City woman slammed into people waiting on the wharf at Port Clyde for a ferry to Monhegan, has filed a lawsuit against the driver and the ferry line.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in Knox County Unified Court by Howard Gold of Cohasset, Massachusetts, against Cheryl L. Torgerson of New York City, the Monhegan-Thomaston Boat Line in Port Clyde, and James and Judith Barstow of St. George, who own the property where the fatal crash occurred on Aug. 11, 2013.

Howard Gold was the father of 9-year-old Dylan Gold, who died after being struck by the vehicle. Injured were Dylan Gold’s mother, Allison Gold, and his brother Wyatt Gold, who was 6 years old at the time of the crash.

Allison Gold suffered multiple pelvic fractures, a perforated bladder and considerable internal bleeding. She spent two weeks at Maine Medical Center in Portland and another two weeks at a rehabilitation facility in Massachusetts. Wyatt Gold was released from the hospital a few days after the crash.

Also injured in that crash was Jonathan Coggeshall, 70, of Port Clyde, who suffered a serious hip injury.

Gold’s lawsuit states that Torgerson, 63, was negligent in driving her 2007 Infiniti sedan when she slammed into the Gold family.

The lawsuit also claims that the Monhegan-Thomaston boat line was negligent in failing to erect barriers and gates, and failing to safely channel the mix of vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic on the wharf where the crash occurred.

The lawsuit does not state a specific dollar amount in damages but points out that in addition to medical expenses, the family members suffered emotional distress from being struck by the vehicle and witnessing the crash that claimed Dylan Gold’s life.

The Gold family is represented by attorney Kevin Libby of Portland.

Torgerson was not criminally charged as a result of the crash. District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau said in February 2014 that there was insufficient evidence she acted in a criminally negligent manner.

Police had received reports of a car matching the description of Torgerson’s Infiniti speeding on several occasions in the hours leading up to the crash. Investigators, however, determined that at about 2:30 p.m. that day, Torgerson stopped her sedan on a downgrade to the wharf while heading to catch the 3 p.m. ferry to Monhegan Island.

She was stopped behind a sport utility vehicle, whose driver was talking to a parking attendant, when her car suddenly accelerated as if the pedal was stuck to the floor or jammed, Torgerson told investigators. Torgerson’s car struck the SUV and then her car sped up, struck a building and the pedestrians. Her recollection after the sudden acceleration was a blur, according to officers.

A blood test showed that Torgerson had no alcohol in her system, and officers saw no signs of illness or that the driver was under the influence of any substances at the time, the district attorney said last year when he announced that no charges would be filed.

A Maine State Police accident reconstructionist examined the sedan and found no mechanical problems.

Torgerson’s attorney, Robert Hatch of Portland, said Monday that he and his client have not yet seen the suit.

“Out of respect for the Gold family, we feel it would be inappropriate for us to make any public comments at this time,” Hatch said.

Amy Barstow, who owns the Monhegan boat line with her husband, Andy, said Monday she had not seen the lawsuit and had no comment on the legal filing. A telephone message left Monday afternoon with James and Judith Barstow, who are Andy’s parents and own the ferry terminal property, was not immediately returned.

 



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