Vulnerable User Fatalities Occur on Maine Roadways Just Four Days Apart
May 2, 2019 (PORTLAND, Maine) – A cyclist and a pedestrian have been hit and killed in separate incidents on Maine roadways in the last five days, bringing the total to six vulnerable user fatalities in 2019.
The most recent crash occurred Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m., when 6-year-old Jayce Holt was struck by the rear wheel of a turning school bus at the intersection Waldo Street and Essex Avenue, approximately two blocks from Rumford Elementary School in Rumford, Maine. While approaching the intersection and trying to stop, the first grader rode off the sidewalk and fell off his bicycle into the road.
Local police confirmed the child’s mother was on the scene immediately.
“Our entire RSU #10 community is grieving this loss,” the district said in a statement. “As with any accident of this kind, there is an ongoing, thorough investigation.”
On Saturday, April 27, in Gray, Maine, 40-year-old Samantha Rinaldi was struck and killed by a driver, 58-year-old Jay Westra of North Yarmouth, while walking on Yarmouth Road at about 7:46 p.m. According to authorities, Westra was driving under the influence of alcohol with his 11-year-old daughter in the vehicle, and was arrested that evening. Police continue to investigate the crash.
“The Bicycle Coalition of Maine expresses deep sadness over the tragic loss of another cyclist and another pedestrian in the State of Maine,” said Coalition Executive Director John Williams. “There are far too many traffic deaths in our state, and it is devastating to add two more names to the mounting list of lives lost due to preventable crashes. Our condolences go out to the families of the victims.”
Williams says the Coalition plans to honor cyclists who lost their lives in traffic crashes with a Ride of Silence event on May 15, 2019.
A nationwide tribute, the annual Ride of Silence takes place at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of May to honor people who have been killed or injured while riding their bikes. It serves to remind the public that bicycle riders of all ages and abilities are regularly on our public ways throughout the year, and due care should be used by drivers when operating around them. More information can be found at rideofsilence.org.
As the state’s leading group promoting bicycling and walking safety, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine routinely monitors crash reports for incidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians. The Coalition also advocates for improved transportation infrastructure and policies to make Maine better for bicycling and walking.
The first pedestrian fatality of 2019 occurred in Hancock on Jan. 9, when Terry Bragdon, 67, of Lamoine, was struck by a pickup truck on Mud Creek Road about a mile from the Route 1 intersection.
The second occurred two weeks later on Jan. 24 in Old Town, when 24-year-old UMaine student Dylan Cooper was hit by a truck with a plow on Stillwater Avenue near Bennoch Road.
The third took place on Feb. 1, when Catherine Gauthier, 36, was struck on Route 4 by Roger Keen, 48, who was operating a pick-up truck.
The fourth occurred on Feb. 11, when Eileen Garroway, 69, was struck by Nicholas Breed, 20, who was operating a 2015 Toyota Corolla and careened off Whites Bridge Road in Standish slightly before noon, hitting Garroway.