WEST FORKS — A Pleasant Ridge Plantation man involved in a van accident just minutes after leaving work at a West Forks inn Monday afternoon has died, according to police.
Daniel Donahue, 56, died Friday morning at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, according to Chief Deputy Dale Lancaster of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department. Lancaster said the sheriff’s office received notification of Donahue’s death from the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in Augusta.
Joe Christopher, owner of Three Rivers Whitewater Rafting and the Inn by the River Rafting Lodge in West Forks, where Donahue worked, said he got a call early Friday morning that Donahue had died of head injuries at the hospital.
“He was just as kind a person as you could meet,” Christopher said Friday. “He could do anything and did everything.”
Donahue, a master Maine Guide, operated a small business in nearby Concord Plantation. Donahue’s Old Bluff Cabins and Guide Service started in 2006, according to the business website.
Donahue was driving south on U.S. Route 201 Monday at around 4:15 p.m. when his van, a 2001 Chrysler Town and Country, veered off the road and into a snowbank, hit a tree and rolled over before stopping upright, said Lancaster. The accident was reported by an off-duty Border Patrol agent.
Police are still investigating the accident’s cause, but neither speed nor alcohol appear to be factors, Lancaster said.
Jamie Shaw, a sales manager at the inn, said no one saw the accident happen, but there are a lot of deer on the move in the area and she speculates that Donahue may have swerved to avoid hitting one. The accident occurred not far from the inn along a section of road that is straight compared to the winding turns it makes in other areas of The Forks and West Forks, she said.
Donahue worked as a repair and maintenance man at the inn and rafting company for the past seven years, Christopher said. He grew up in Fairfield and graduated from Lawrence High School, according to his Facebook page.
“Dan Donahue was and is a great man,” Christopher wrote Friday morning on the rafting company’s Facebook page. “A man’s man by all accounts. Strong, hardworking, and most of all, very caring for all of us around him. He did all that he could to make things better for everyone every day. He would start each day by telling those around him â€˜It’s going to be a great day!’ even if the circumstances were not ideal. His big smile, positive outlook, hard work, and love for all of us will be terribly missed.”
Brandon Berry of Berry’s General Store, also in West Forks, replied to the Facebook post, writing that “all of us at Berry’s will miss his positive attitude.”
Christopher said Donahue loved being outdoors, hunting, fishing, boating and teaching others about the wilderness and taking care of people.
“Our family and crew will never be the same without Dan, but we have to remember to try to be how he was, and how he would want us to be: happy,” Christopher wrote on Facebook. “So as we mourn the loss of a great friend, let’s remember what Dan would want. â€˜It’s going to be a great day!'”
Christopher said Donahue’s survivors include two sons, his father and ex-wife.