July 17, 2019 (PORTLAND, Maine) – The eighth Maine pedestrian death of 2019 occurred Tuesday, July 9 in Whitefield, Maine, followed by a ninth fatality in Southwest Harbor exactly one week later. Both victims were struck by motor vehicle operators.
In the first crash, Christopher Simpson, 64, of Whitefield, was struck by 38-year-old Eric Sroka of Nobleboro, who was operating a 2004 Ford Ranger. Simpson was hit while crossing Head Tide Road to retrieve his mail. Lincoln County Police Officers arrived at approximately 5 p.m., where Lt. Brendan Kane pronounced Simpson dead at the scene.
In a news release on Wednesday afternoon, Kane said that Sroka hit Simpson as he came around a bend in the road, and that neither speed nor alcohol was believed to be a factor in the crash. Sroka remained at the scene until authorities arrived.
On July 16, an 89-year old woman was hit by the driver of a tractor-trailer in Southwest Harbor while walking toward the Village Green Way, where the driver had just finished making a delivery. The woman was flown to a Bangor hospital, where she later died. Authorities say the victim fell and was run over by the driver of the tractor-trailer, a 56-year old Bangor man. The names of those involved in the crash will not be released until the families are notified.
“It is never easy to hear about fatal crashes, and we are devastated to her about the loss of two more Mainers,” said Bicycle Coalition of Maine Executive Director John Williams. “We send our deepest sympathies to the victim’s families and the communities that loved them.”
As the state’s leading group promoting bicycling and walking safety, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine routinely monitors crash reports for incidents that involve bicyclists and pedestrians, and advocates for improved transportation infrastructure and policies to make Maine better for bicycling and walking.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine will continue to track these cases to determine what, if any, infrastructure changes could be made to prevent this type of tragedy from occurring again.
The nine fatal crashes in Maine this year highlight the need for all motorists to stay alert and aware, obey speed limits, and never drive distracted or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
As a reminder, pedestrians and other vulnerable users can be present on Maine’s roadways in all conditions and times of day. Pedestrians and cyclists should use extra care to be visible, especially when walking or biking after dark, and to follow best practices and the law for roadway safety.