Tom Poulin was just finishing his route delivering the Morning Sentinel Wednesday morning, driving toward Kingfield from Phillips, a route he’d driven for years.

Sharon Burrill, an area circulation manager in the Morning Sentinel’s Skowhegan office, talked to him on the phone around 4 a.m. and all seemed fine.

“That’s the last we spoke,” Burrill said later Wednesday.

A little more than two hours later, the 48-year-old father of four was dead, his car striking a tree in Salem Township.

Poulin, of Farmington, lost control of his 2005 Subaru Outback on a curve on Route 142 at about 6:30 a.m., state police Trooper Reid Bond said.

He died at the scene, near 2334 Salem Road. State Police Spokesman Steve McCausland said no other information would be available Wednesday.

Poulin had been an employee and then an independent contractor for the Morning Sentinel and was a dedicated worker, said Charlene McGraw, circulation manager for the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal. McGraw hired Poulin more than 20 years ago.

In addition to delivering the Morning Sentinel on his motor route, Poulin also delivered the Lewiston Sun Journal, McGraw said.

“He was a very nice man and would help you out if you needed help,” said McGraw. “It’s so sad.”

He leaves his wife, Lisa, and four children, she said.

Poulin’s route included the Temple, Strong and Phillips areas, and he was near the end of his route when the accident occurred, McGraw said.

She said he typically met with several other carriers between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. to pick up his newspapers near Family Dollar in Farmington, and they would talk about their work and families. His route took him four or more hours to complete.

Burrill said she spoke with Poulin by phone at 4:07 a.m. Wednesday. He’d left her a message the day before, asking for replacement stakes for street-side newspaper tubes for customers.

“I called his cellphone and told him what was going on with the tubes and he said, ‘OK, I”ll get them,’ and that’s the last we spoke,” Burrill said.

Around 9 a.m. Wednesday, Burrill got a call from McGraw, telling her of Poulin’s death. Burrill said she likely was the last person to speak to Poulin.

“That’s the part that’s really devastating,” Burrill said. “Immediately after I got off the phone with Charlene, I called my mother to say, ‘I just wanted to call and tell you I love you.’

“That could have been any one of us out there, doing what we do. It puts things in perspective,” she said. “It’s really devastating when something like that happens.”

Burrill said Poulin was friendly, easy to talk to and a big story teller.

“He was meticulous in his deliveries and made sure people were taken care of. I’m sure it’s going to be devastating for his customers to hear what happened.”

Both Burrill and McGraw said Poulin’s wife helped him a lot when he suffered a hand injury a while back. The couple helped each other and were very close, according to McGraw.

McGraw said she worked with Poulin for three days at the recent Farmington Fair, where they sold and sponsored newspapers. A lot of people knew Poulin, who was well liked and liked to tease people, but it was all in good fun. He also was a team player, she said, recalling a time when the truck carrying newspapers was late and could not make it to Rangeley. Poulin offered to do the Rangeley route and did, she said.

“He was a very nice man,” McGraw said, “and the thing with Tom is, if he found out you needed help, he was there.”

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office helped state police at the accident scene, according to McCausland.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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