ELLSWORTH — Investigative reports from a three-vehicle crash on the Surry Road in Surry July 28 that claimed the life of an Ellsworth woman have been submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for review.
“I should be making a decision in the next few weeks,” said District Attorney Matt Foster of whether or not there would be charges related to the accident. “I don’t like to let cases sit in our office for any length of time without being reviewed and acted on.”
The deceased woman, Kathleen Anderson, was 66 and died at the scene, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office reported.
While the Maine Attorney General’s Office investigates homicides, the AG has delegated potential vehicular manslaughter prosecutions to the districts, Foster said.
Foster described the investigative materials as “voluminous.”
“Typically, we have reports from each officer involved at the scene, crash reconstruction reports, vehicle autopsy reports, EDR (event data recorder) download reports, medical records, witness statements, first responder statements, 911 recordings, photographic evidence, expert reports, autopsy reports and drug analysis,” among other reports, Foster said. Event data recorder refers to the devices on vehicles comparable to “black boxes” on airplanes that provide speed data and other information.
“That is one reason that it takes so long to put one of these investigations together for review,” Foster said. “The agencies want to have everything in order before submitting it to our office and that usually means gathering information from many different agencies and individuals who participated in the investigation.”
The accident was investigated by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office.
“What takes the most time is when you have a case that involves having to use investigative tools that you can’t do yourself,” said Chief Deputy Patrick Kane. While obtaining lab results once took weeks, they now take months to receive, Kane said. “Or if we have to have something specifically analyzed from a vehicle, which is the case in this particular instance.”
The deceased woman was driving a 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer, which was struck by a westbound 2019 Subaru Outback operated by Thomas Bugbee, 62, of Blue Hill, police said.
Police said before the collision occurred, the Subaru had tried to pass several vehicles and while re-entering the westbound lane, struck a Honda Civic. The Subaru then spun sideways and struck Anderson’s Trailblazer.
Daniel T. McLaughlin, 36, of Somerville, Mass., was operating the Honda Civic, police said. Bugbee and McLaughlin’s passenger, Tara Fortunato, 38, of Tewksbury, Mass., were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at local hospitals.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was corrected on Feb. 14 to state that the Subaru and Honda rolled over.