JACKMAN — A 5-year-old boy who was killed one year ago today will be remembered Saturday during a community walk to raise awareness about the dangers of driving while fatigued.

Beginning 11 a.m. Saturday at Town Hall, participants will walk north along U.S. Route 201 to the Town Park, stopping briefly to pray and release balloons at the site where Liam Mahaney was killed.

On July 19, 2011, while Liam slept on a couch in his Main Street home, a logging truck crashed onto the lawn, overturned and spilled its load into the house, killing Liam instantly.

The driver, Christian Cloutier, 57, of Quebec, said he fell asleep at the wheel as he was driving south on U.S. Route 201, and was not charged.

Liam’s mother, Christina Mahaney, said she was disappointed by the lack of charges and is trying to gather support to change state law.

“The trucker that killed Liam basically got a slap on the hand, because the state of Maine doesn’t see falling asleep at the wheel as negligent,” she said. “He got literally nothing but a suspended license, so we want the laws to be stronger.”

Mahaney said she’s working closely with a group called the Truck Safety Coalition to craft a proposal to forward to state legislators.

Rep. Larry Dunphy, whose House District 88 includes Jackman, said he hasn’t seen a proposal yet, but he has worked with Mahaney on the issue.

“It absolutely breaks my heart to think what that woman is going through, and the whole community,” Dunphy said. “We need to make communities safe, but we also need to be careful that we don’t hamper people’s ability to make a living.”

Mahaney said her efforts to stiffen penalties for fatigued drivers is sometimes met with suspicion in Jackman, which relies heavily on the logging industry. She said there’s no need for truck drivers to feel threatened.

“We’re doing Liam’s Walk to raise awareness about tired truckers — not all truckers, just negligence,” she said.

Mahaney said she and her husband, Gary Mahaney, had considered the dangers of living so close to a busy road, but ultimately decided to purchase the home, located at 510 Main St.

“We figured as long as the kids were in the house, and not wandering the yard, we were safe,” she said.

On the night of the crash, Mahaney was sitting near Liam on the first floor of the family’s two-story house when 104,000 pounds of timber rolled through the exterior wall and destroyed the building, she said.

For a few moments, Mahaney was trapped under the logs. When she got free, Mahaney couldn’t comprehend what had happened, which she attributes to a concussion and the magnitude of destruction.

“I was so out of it, I kept looking at my house thinking, ‘What is this?'” Mahaney recalled. “It’s scary to think about even now.”

It took several hours to locate Liam’s body.

Mahaney, her husband and three other children survived the crash. They now live on a dead-end street in Jackman.

Participants in Saturday’s walk are asked to contribute to a scholarship fund in Liam’s name.

Adult walkers are asked to contribute $10; children 12 and younger are asked to contribute $5.

The scholarship will be awarded to one graduating senior per year at Forest Hills High School in Jackman. The amount of the scholarship will be determined by the amount of contributions.

Mahaney plans to hold a similar event every year.

Ben McCanna — 861-9239

[email protected]

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