May 22, 2019
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Warren woman identified as second victim in fatal Washington crash

WASHINGTON, Maine — A Warren woman was officially identified Monday as the second victim of a horrific crash Friday afternoon on Route 17.

Christina Torres-York, 45, died from blunt force trauma to the chest as a result of the accident that occurred when a flatbed carrying lumber overturned Friday, according to the Maine medical examiner’s office. Friday’s crash also claimed the life of Paul Fowles, 74, of Owls Head.

Officials with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office will meet with members of the Maine Department of Transportation to see if there are some steps that can be taken to prevent more crashes at that troublesome curve by the intersection of Fitch Road, Chief Deputy Tim Carroll said Monday.

The DOT has installed rumble strips along Route 17, but not yet at that curve, according to Carroll, who plans to review crash statistics for that specific section.

“We have had a number of accidents there, that’s for sure,” the chief deputy said.

Among the issues to be looked at is whether the banking is too steep for vehicles heading west.

In Friday’s crash, a westbound 1998 Freightliner loaded with lumber and driven by Randall Weddle, 53, of Greeneville, Tennessee, overturned and struck three oncoming vehicles.

Carroll said that investigating officers will meet with a member of the district attorney’s office to make sure all the bases of the investigation were covered. He said that meeting is simply to ensure that the probe is comprehensive and is not an indication that charges may result. The speed of the truck has not been determined yet but a reconstruction expert is working on it.

Fowles was returning from an appointment at the Togus Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Torres-York was returning from work.

Last September, an 18-wheel flatbed truck loaded with snowplows crashed at that same curve on Route 17 by the intersection of Fitch Road in Washington. The driver suffered injuries that were not life-threatening. Police at the time said the flatbed truck was heading west and simply missed the curve, crossed the center line and drove off into a field on the opposite side where it flipped, dumping its load of plow equipment from the Fisher Engineering manufacturing plant in Rockland.

In April 2015, a car lost control on that curve and went off the road, but not before clipping another vehicle and causing it to flip and land on its roof in the middle of the road. One person was taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. The driver who caused the crash was cited for driving to endanger for speeding on the curve.

Then shortly before 11 a.m. Saturday, less than 24 hours after Friday’s fatal crash, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office responded to a car crash near the same spot. At least one person was injured in that crash.

The chief deputy said a critical incident stress debriefing meeting will be held soon for all the first responders, including police, to go over Friday’s fatal crash and to talk about what they went through.

“It was a pretty rough scene but it is just part of the job,” Carroll said.

But, he said, it is important for people to talk about such scenes.

“It can take a toll,” he said.


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