(TRENTON, Maine) Sept. 24, 2021 – Deputy Luke Gross, an 18-year veteran of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, died after being struck by a driver while responding to a call in Trenton Thursday morning.
Deputy Gross was assisting with a vehicle that went off the road on Route 3 when he was hit around 4:00 a.m. Maine has a “Move Over Law” that requires motorists to move over or slow down when approaching stopped emergency and public service vehicles on the side of the road.
“We are very troubled by this loss of a human life and saddened by the number of people being killed and harmed by unsafe passes this year,” said Lauri Boxer-Macomber, a board member for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and an attorney at Kelly, Remmel & Zimmerman who practices bicycle and pedestrian law. “There are far too many crashes in Maine involving pedestrians, bicyclists and other vulnerable users. This is why it is so important that all road users, particularly those operating several ton vehicles, recognize the importance of staying alert and attentive to what is taking place around them, operating at safe speeds, and following all of Maine’s safe passing laws.”
The BCM—which testified in 2019 favor of LD 546, the bill that led to the strengthening of Maine’s Move Over Passing Law—mourns alongside Deputy Gross’ family and community, and encourages law enforcement to carefully investigate and examine the roadway conditions, history of crashes at this location, driver behavior, and any additional contributing factors while they continue to investigate the incident.
Hundreds of officers participated in a procession from Ellsworth to the State Medical Examiner’s Office, and eventually a funeral home in Bucksport, in honor of Deputy Gross. Gov. Janet Mills directed flags across the state to be lowered to half-staff, and expressed her sympathies in a public statement.
“Today, we mourn the loss of Deputy Gross, a member of Maine’s law enforcement community killed in the line of duty,” Gov. Mills said. “My heart goes out to his friends, family, and fellow officers.”
Deputy Gross will be remembered for his dedicated commitment to his duties—including his work at local schools as a DARE officer and advocate against drunk and distracted driving—and his willingness to always help those in need, friends say. He was also a husband of 15 years and a father of two.
According to the BCM, this is the fifteenth pedestrian fatality in Maine this year, the second in less than a week, and the fourth in the last month. Another pedestrian was also critically injured after being hit by a motorcycle driver in Auburn Thursday evening. Twelve pedestrians were killed on Maine roadways in all of 2020.
Deputy Gross is the 87th law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty since the early 1800s, and the first since April 2019.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is the statewide voice of cyclists and pedestrians. Since 1992, the BCM has led the effort to make Maine better for bicycling and walking by protecting the rights and safety of cyclists and pedestrians through education, advocacy, legislation, and encouragement. We support biking and walking for health, transportation, and recreation. For more information, visit bikemaine.org.