OAKLAND — Dave Willey was at home when an alleged drunken driver smashed into a utility pole near his house, leaving a swath of the town without power for hours Saturday.

“It sounded like the house exploded,” he said, recalling the moment when electrical and telephone wires tore loose from his house, landing in his yard and across his truck.

Central Maine Power Co. restored his electrical service after several hours. Willey still was waiting Tuesday for a contractor to tell him the total cost of the damages, which include damaged siding and possible internal electrical problems.

Despite the damage and circumstances of the crash, Willey said he has no animosity toward the alleged driver, Roxane Marie Montgomery. An Army veteran, Montgomery said she was raped by fellow soldiers while serving in the Persian Gulf and is battling the trauma and an acute alcohol problem.

Her story, recently publicized by the Morning Sentinel, has involved local authorities who say they’re struggling to help her.

“As far as I’m concerned, she went over and served our country,” Willey said. “She has issues, but she needs help, and I really hope she gets it.”

Montgomery, 47, of Hussey Hill Road, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.22 percent at the time of her arrest Saturday, according to police.

As of Tuesday afternoon, she remained at the Kennebec County jail in lieu of $3,000 bail on charges of operating while under the influence and violating the conditions of her release after a previous arrest.

Already convicted twice for OUI, Montgomery now faces a felony drunken driving charge that’s punishable by up to five years imprisonment and $5,000 in fines.

Willey said he rushed outside after the collision, encouraging Montgomery to remain in her vehicle until utility workers could shut down the power.

Only later did Willey learn that Montgomery has struggled with alcoholism for years, routinely and improperly calling 911 to request treatment. Since returning from the Army, she has been arrested multiple times on charges of OUI, misuse of 911 and violating the conditions of her release.

As of last week, Montgomery was still on a waiting list to enter a substance-abuse treatment program in a Veterans Affairs hospital in Brockton, Mass. She has attended that program twice before.

“She’s going through a lot,” Willey said. “And you don’t fight demons like that without somebody giving you some help, and obviously she’s not getting it.”

Next door, Jane Parsons, whose home also was damaged in the Saturday crash, shared Willey’s sentiment. When Montgomery’s car struck the pole, a power surge damaged Parsons’ furnace, leaving her without heat overnight.

Since the electrical wires were pulled from her house too, she also needs a contractor to investigate for possible internal electrical damage. She’s not sure how much the furnace repairs will cost.

“I do feel sorry for her. I really do,” Parsons said of Montgomery, adding that she has no animosity about the damage. “I hope she gets the help she needs.”

While residents said accidents are common on the curve of Oak Street, Oakland Police Capt. Rick Stubbert said he wouldn’t call it a particularly dangerous location.

Stubbert said police can do very little to change Montgomery’s behavior.

“To be honest, there’s nothing we can do,” he said. “There’s no mandatory counseling. There’s a lot Roxane can do, but nothing we can do.”

While they sympathize with Montgomery’s struggles, both Parsons and Willey say that does not excuse her actions and the danger they posed to the public.

“It could have been somebody’s kid, wife, brother or whatever,” Willey said.

Evan Belanger — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @evanbelanger

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.