A Hancock County sheriff’s deputy has died after he was hit by a car early Thursday morning.
Deputy Luke Gross, 44, was on Route 3 in Trenton where he was responding to a call about a car off the road about 3:54 a.m., according to Hancock County Sheriff Scott Kane.
While on the scene, Gross was hit by a car on the stretch of road in front of Penobscot Cleaning Services, suffering serious injuries, authorities said. Late Thursday morning, a few small pieces of accident debris remained by the side of the road.
“Regrettably, Deputy Gross did not survive his injuries,” Kane said Thursday morning.
Kane later declined to comment further.
William Clark, a Hancock County commissioner who was sheriff in 2003, when he hired Gross as a deputy, said Gross had previously worked for the Winthrop Police Department. He said Gross, who grew up in the Bucksport area, is married and has two school-age children.
“It’s absolutely terrible,” Clark said. “We’ve dodged this bullet [a death in the line of duty] a few times over the years. To lose a veteran officer like this…”
Clark left the sentence unfinished, his voice trailing off and shaking his head as he spoke.
Just after 11am, a procession of police cars including Maine State Police, Ellsworth Police, Bucksport Police, Penobscot County Sheriffs, Hancock Sheriffs and Marine Patrol traveled down Route 3 escorting the vehicle carrying Gross’s body. Two fire trucks — one from Southwest Harbor and one from Lamoine — stood sentry alongside the road near the Marden’s plaza entrance with ladders extended, suspending an American flag over an intersection to honor the fallen deputy.
Route 3 was reopened shortly after.
Gov. Janet Mills said Thursday she will order flags to be lowered to half-staff on the day Gross is laid to rest.
“Today, we mourn the loss of Deputy Gross, a member of Maine’s law enforcement community killed in the line of duty. My heart goes out to his friends, family, and fellow officers. May we always remember that our law enforcement officers are dedicated public servants who risk their own lives every day to protect the safety of Maine people,” Mills said. “Deputy Gross ended his watch protecting our great state, and his service and sacrifice will not be forgotten. On behalf of the people of Maine, I extend our condolences to his family, loved ones, and colleagues around the state.”
No additional information was available. At a 3pm press conference, Kane remembered Gross fondly, praising his passion for law enforcement and his family.
Gross is at least the 87th Maine law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty since the early 1800s. His death comes more than two years after Maine State Police Detective Benjamin Campbell was fatally struck by a tractor-trailer tire while assisting a motorist on Interstate 95 in Hampden, and three years after Somerset County sheriff’s Deputy Eugene Cole was shot to death by John D. Williams in Norridgewock.
BDN writer Christopher Burns contributed to this report.