2016-03-25 / Front Page

Arundel crash underscores need for grant to enforce laws

11 involved in three-vehicle crash
By Wm. Duke Harrington Staff Writer


This vehicle, a 2007 GMC pickup truck driven by Katelynn Perkins, 19, of Biddeford, and carrying four passengers, rolled several times, hitting several trees before coming to rest on its roof in a swampy area off Campground Road in Arundel, March 19. The wreck reportedly occurred when Perkins went three-wide in a no-passing zone to try and get past a friend in the act of passing another car. (Courtesy photo) This vehicle, a 2007 GMC pickup truck driven by Katelynn Perkins, 19, of Biddeford, and carrying four passengers, rolled several times, hitting several trees before coming to rest on its roof in a swampy area off Campground Road in Arundel, March 19. The wreck reportedly occurred when Perkins went three-wide in a no-passing zone to try and get past a friend in the act of passing another car. (Courtesy photo) ARUNDEL — A $20,000 state grant to help collar speeding motorists in York County may be coming along just in time, given a couple of scary crashes this past weekend, both of which were attributed to unsafe driving.

In one accident – which occurred at about 9:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, on Campground Road in Arundel – three vehicles carrying 11 young adults collided when the drivers attempted a three-wide passing maneuver across a double yellow line.

“The road has shoulders, but I don’t think it’s wide enough there for three cars, to be honest with you,” York County Sheriff William King said on Monday.


This vehicle, a 2004 Cadillac driven by Jeffrey Hodgkins Jr., 24, of Shapleigh, rolled off of County Road in Shapleigh March 20. It was one of two crashes over the weekend that York County Sheriff William King says occupants were lucky to survive. Hodgkins was charged with OUI. (Courtesy photo) This vehicle, a 2004 Cadillac driven by Jeffrey Hodgkins Jr., 24, of Shapleigh, rolled off of County Road in Shapleigh March 20. It was one of two crashes over the weekend that York County Sheriff William King says occupants were lucky to survive. Hodgkins was charged with OUI. (Courtesy photo) The vehicles ended up sideswiping each other, sending one off the road, where it flipped “several times,” according to a sheriff’s department press release, before coming to a rest “on its roof in a swamp.”

Nobody was seriously injured in the accident, including the five people in the overturned vehicle. All were treated on the scene by Arundel Fire and Rescue for minor injuries and released. King said it is uncertain how many of the 11 people involved, if any, were wearing seatbelts. However, six were handed citations, most tied to underage drinking at Gooch’s Beach in Kennebunk earlier in the evening, King said. All of those involved were 19 and 20 years old.

“I’m just shocked that they did that, trying to pass each other the way they did,” King said. “That was just nonsense. I don’t mean to sound flippant by that, but we were really very lucky this was not a fatal. It’s no passing in that area. The road there is curved and hilly. It was just a very, very dangerous thing to do.”

Also lucky was a driver and passenger in another wreck that occurred at about 10:45 p.m. Sunday, March 20, on County Road in Shapleigh.

According to King, witnesses reported seeing a 2004 Cadillac “operating erratically” before it went off the road and rolled over, eventually coming to a stop on its side. When Deputy Corey Sweatt arrived on scene, he charged the driver, Jeffrey Hodgkins Jr., 24, of Shapleigh, with OUI. The passenger, Jacob Higgins, 19, of Waterboro, was found to be in violation of his conditions of release from a previous arrest.

Both men were taken to Southern Maine Health Care in Sanford, although King reports neither suffered life-threatening injuries.

“That’s kind of surprising when you look at the vehicle,” he said.

Both incidents have drawn considerable traffic on the Facebook page maintained by the York County Sheriff’s Department. As of Monday morning, the Arundel accident had garnered 197 “shares” and 77 comments, including from the mothers of two of the young people involved.

“I am very thankful that no one was seriously hurt. I could have been attending funerals for several kids that I think of as my own, as well as my own,” wrote Karen Huard. “Mistakes were made, and we were all young and dumb at one point in our life.”

Still, Huard’s son, Curtis Huard, 20, of Arundel, appears to have made mistakes before. In addition to being summonsed for possession of alcohol, he also was charged with violating conditions of release, which, King said, required him to not consume alcohol.

Huard’s girlfriend, Katelynn Perkins, 19, of Biddeford, was the driver of the vehicle that rolled over, a 2007 GMC pickup truck. Huard was in that vehicle along with Dalten Collard, Whitney Butts and Joseph Zike, all 19-year-old Arundel residents.

According to a sheriff’s department press release, the group of 11 was returning from a party at Gooch’s Beach, traveling west on Campground Road, from Route 1 toward Limerick Road, when Tyler Spang, 20, of Lyman, driving a 2003 Dodge pickup truck, attempted to pass a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer driven by Olivia Madore, 19, of Arundel. It was at that moment, as Spang and Madore were side-by-side, that Perkins reportedly elected to try and pass both vehicles.

While attempting that pass, Perkins ”sideswiped” Spang’s truck, causing Spang to collide with Madore’s Trailblazer, according to the details pieced together on scene on sheriff’s department investigators. Perkins then struck Spang’s vehicle a second time when she tried to return to the proper travel lane. In doing so, she lost control of her vehicle and it left the road, “rolling over several times.” According to the sheriff’s report, “The vehicle struck trees and ended up on its roof in a swamp.”

Spang and Madore both managed to keep their vehicles on the black top, despite the collisions.

“It was a bad decision that they made, but the drivers of all three vehicles were not drinking. And that is something to be proud of,” wrote Spang’s mother, Linda, on the Sheriff’s Department Facebook page.

“We all make mistakes,” she continued. “As adults we tend to forget that we were kids too, and I know I made mistakes. Don’t sit and judge these kids, they are beating themselves up enough about it. My son’s truck is all messed up, but all he was concerned about was that everyone was okay. Theses are good kids. Focus on the fact that no one was hurt.”

Despite Spang’s assertion, King said the possession charge leveled at Huard was possession of alcohol by virtue of consumption by an underaged person.

Four others were issued similar summons on scene, King said, although he did not have names immediately available Monday morning and could not confirm that Spang or Madore was among those found to have been drinking. King also was not certain if any of those involved had their blood-alcohol content tested on the night of the accident.

Perkins was summonsed for driving to endanger and illegal transportation of alcohol. King said the incident remains under investigation and more charges could be pending, particularly for Spang, who also allegedly conducted an unsafe pass.

Riding with Spang was Matt Smith, 20, of Kennebunk. Madore’s passengers were Julian Zuke, 20, and William Renell, 19, both of Arundel, and Paige St. George, 19, of Nashua, New Hampshire.

“We all know that kids sometimes feel like they’re invincible, but in this case, they were incredibly lucky,” King said. “We’re just really lucky that we didn’t have two fatal car crashes this weekend.”

According to King, York County leads Maine in fatal car crashes, with Arundel and Waterboro being the known hot spots. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 131 highway deaths in Maine in 2014, the most recent year for which it has statistics. That’s the lowest year-end total going back over the previous decade. Road deaths ranged as high as 188 in 2006. But, perhaps more tellingly, the vast majority of traffic fatalities in Maine occur on rural roads.

“Here in York County, our rural communities are growing,” King said, suggesting road designs sometimes at odds with traffic patterns.

That’s why King said he’s thankful for a speed grant received this past week from the Maine Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Highway Safety. The $20,000 received will fund extra patrols targeted to speed enforcement on rural roads, including those in Arundel, King said.

“We’ll be hitting these places to try and slow people down before the summer,” he said. “Our hope is that what we experienced this past weekend is not an indication of what’s to come this summer. People have got to slow down and drive responsibly.”

Staff Writer Duke Harrington can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

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