AUGUSTA — An 81-year-old city woman remembered as an avid walker and generous volunteer has died after she was struck — while walking on a sidewalk — by an out-of-control car last week.

Ruth Epperson died Thursday afternoon at Maine Medical Center in Portland, where she had been listed in critical condition, according to her family.

Epperson was walking on the sidewalk along North Belfast Avenue when she was hit by a 1999 Jeep Cherokee driven by Joshua Erskine, 24, of Windsor. Erskine was not injured.

Augusta police Sgt. Christopher Shaw said Friday that the case is still under investigation. Police said Erskine has not been charged in connection with the crash — yet.

“I’m sure charges would be forthcoming; I’m positive of it,” Shaw said. “It’s going to have to go through the whole indictment process first.”

Epperson’s son, Gerald Epperson, of West Gardiner, said his mother trekked up and down that road for 44 years without an incident. She walked several miles a day, according to her sister, Neva Moody, of Monroe.

The crash happened about 3:30 p.m. Erskine was driving east on North Belfast Avenue when his jeep swerved across the westbound lane and hit a car parked in a driveway. His Jeep caromed off the parked car and plowed into Epperson, who lived nearby on Caswell Street, off North Belfast Avenue.

Epperson was taken to Portland by a LifeFlight helicopter with extensive injuries.

Her husband, Clyde Epperson, said she was admitted to the trauma unit and never regained consciousness.

Clyde and Ruth Epperson have two children, Gerald Epperson and Ann Young, of Fayette; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Gerald Epperson said Friday the family is gathering to remember her. “She had seven brothers and sisters, five girls and two boys. She lost one sister and a brother, but they all live in Maine.”

Gerald Epperson said his mother was a registered nurse at the Augusta General Hospital. She loved gardening, quilting and her church, the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, according to family.

Prince of Peace pastor, the Rev. Jonathan Vogel, said Epperson was a wonderful, caring person. He said she was active in the church and the quilting ministry which sends quilts all over the world to people in need.

“She had a very caring heart. She always had time for other people,” Vogel said. “She certainly kept herself busy. She was very active with her walking and exercise, and was always ready to help at the church. She’s going to be missed.”

Epperson was also a volunteer for the Augusta Food Bank for more than 20 years, said Abigail Perry, director of food bank. Epperson volunteered weekly, Perry said.

“She’s one of the first people I met and was most influential because of her kindness, generosity and spirit,” Perry said. “She had such a good heart. She was a generous person, and reliable.”

Vogel said his prayers go out to Epperson’s family and also to Erskine.

“This young man, whatever the cause (of the accident), is going to live with this the rest of his life and that’s going to be a hard thing for him,” he said. “I know Ruth would want to keep him in our prayers as well.”

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

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