Police on Friday identified the woman killed March 20 in a fiery crash on Route 139 in Fairfield as 39-year-old Tammy Sue Harl, of Norridgewock.
Fairfield Police Chief Thomas Gould said the Office of Chief Medical Examiner used DNA testing to identify Harl. He said the test results, which had been expected as early as Monday, had taken longer than anticipated. DNA testing was necessary because of the extent of injuries and burns.
The car was incinerated.
Harl was driving a 1996 Plymouth Neon south into Fairfield from Norridgewock when she apparently lost control of the car and slid into the path of an oncoming pickup truck.
The accident was called in at 11:11 p.m. on the 700 block of Norridgewock Road, about a mile south of the Norridgewock town line, Gould said. He said the road was icy that night.
The pickup truck’s driver, Richard Savage, 33, of Madison, was not injured seriously. Gould said Savage was driving the 2008 Dodge north on Route 139.
An obituary about Harl was published in the Morning Sentinel on Wednesday, but police could not release her name officially until identification was made through the DNA testing.
The obituary states Harl is survived by her partner, Lee Hutchinson, and their 19-month-old son.
Gould said Friday the accident is still being reconstructed by the Maine State Police, which helped Fairfield police the night of the crash.
Harl’s car was struck on the passenger-side door, Gould said. She might have been driving too fast for road conditions, he said. He also said ice on the road contributed to the crash.
“There does not appear to be any other contributing factors,” Gould said
Passers-by tried to get Harl out of the car, but the fire’s heat was too great.
Harl’s death was the second crash fatality on that stretch of road in five months.
Dawnalysce Clifford, a former Fairfield town councilor who lives about a mile from the recent crash site, said high speed and a high volume of traffic combine to make Route 139 dangerous.
Clifford noted that the road is a major connector from Interstate 95 to several ski areas and to U.S. Route 2, which connects the Maine coast near Bar Harbor to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and western Maine.
She said Maine Department of Transportation traffic counts released in the late 1990s also showed a high volume of truck traffic. Garbage trucks use the road to travel to the Waste Management site in Norridgewock, and 18-wheelers haul loads along that stretch day and night, she said.
“One thing they discovered was that the volume was higher on 139 than I-95 through town,” Clifford said. “It’s high volume and high speed and little enforcing of the speed limits. We have had somebody roll their vehicle in our driveway. Somebody rolled just beyond our driveway and down the hill and into our orchard.”
Earlier this week, residents along Route 139 said the area has posed a danger to drivers this winter and that the state should do more to prevent hazardous road conditions. Some said state plows don’t always push the snowbanks on the road back far enough to let melted water drain into the ditch.
DOT officials said employees have been working hard to keep roads safe during an unusually cold, snowy winter.
Along the same stretch of road Monday morning, an SUV rolled over several times, landing on its roof on a snowbank. One person was hospitalized after the crash, according to Fairfield police.
The night before Thanksgiving, Jim Murphy, a biochemist from Starks, was killed in a head-on crash on the road when an oncoming pickup truck crossed the center line.