2017-03-03 / Community

Goodbye ‘Grey Ghost’

Police department’s last Crown Vic is towed away
By Wm. Duke Harrington Staff Writer


The last Crown Victoria in the Kennebunk Police Department fleet, a 2011 model affectionately known as the Grey Ghost, was loaded onto a flatbed following an engine seizure Feb. 18. Selectmen were slated at their Feb. 28 meeting to approve an emergency $35,000 allocation to fund its replacement. (Courtesy photo) The last Crown Victoria in the Kennebunk Police Department fleet, a 2011 model affectionately known as the Grey Ghost, was loaded onto a flatbed following an engine seizure Feb. 18. Selectmen were slated at their Feb. 28 meeting to approve an emergency $35,000 allocation to fund its replacement. (Courtesy photo) KENNEBUNK — The ol’ Grey Ghost, she ain’t what she used to be.

On Feb. 18, the last Ford Crown Victoria in the Kennebunk Police Department fleet — a 2011 model with more than 99,000 mile on the odometer — answered its last call. According to Town Manager Michael Pardue, the cruiser suffered a malady while on patrol that “rendered it no longer drivable.”

“The causative factor was found to be a defective oil pump, which failed without warning, seizing the engine,” Pardue wrote in a memo to selectmen.

The police department, meanwhile, memorialized the vehicle on its Facebook page, posting a photo of the Ghost as it was loaded onto a D.C. Towing flatbed on its way “out to pasture.”

“She was lovingly referred to as the ‘Grey Ghost,’” the page administrator wrote. “We swear we heard a bugler in the distance playing ‘Taps’ as it left the yard. We had to console Officer [Michael] Tucci as he fought back tears.

“In lieu of flowers, baked goods may be accepted for Officer Tucci,” the posting said.

While that was all in fun, the sudden vehicle shortage did leave the department in a bind — one selectmen were scheduled to resolve at their Feb. 28 meeting.

While she was priceless to Tucci, Pardue said the actual Kelley Blue Book value of the Ghost was estimated at $3,707. Meanwhile, the cost to replace the engine was pegged at $6,000.

“Due to the age of the cruiser, the high mileage, and the significant cost to repair the engine, it seems imprudent to repair this emergency response vehicle,” Pardue advised selectmen.

Because of the immediate need versus the time it would take to go though the formal bid process, Police Chief Robert MacKenzie asked selectmen to waive the usual purchasing routine and allow him to buy a 2017 Ford Interceptor SUV from Quirk Ford in Hallowell for $27,293.

That, Pardue pointed out, is less than the $28,108 Kennebunk paid for its most recent Interceptor acquisition from Arundel Ford.

Selectmen were expected to vote Feb. 28 — a meeting that took place after the deadline for this week’s Post — to allocate $35,000 from their capital reserve fund to buy the Quirk Interceptor and to furnish it for police work. That reserve account, Pardue said, currently holds $94,575.

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

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