WATERVILLE — A Fairfield motorcyclist who suffered a serious head injury Thursday in a crash on College Avenue died Friday afternoon.

Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey, of the Waterville police, said James Bolduc, 53, was pronounced dead by the medical examiner at 3:30 p.m. Friday. Rumsey said he died as the result of a serious head injury he suffered in the crash.

He said no more information about the crash would be released as long as the investigation was underway.

“This is an ongoing investigation which will conclude only after all available information has been gathered (to include results of various lab tests and the completion of complicated and detailed reconstruction reports),” Rumsey said in a news release Friday night.

Representatives of the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office were at the accident scene Thursday, and Rumsey said that Waterville police “will release information regarding criminal charges – if any – after careful review of all available evidence and in consultation with the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office.”

Police were told of his death at 7 p.m., Rumsey said.

Bolduc’s death was at least the 19th fatal motorcycle accident in Maine this year, the highest tally in at least six years.

Bolduc was injured fatally in a chain reaction accident that began when a driver backed a Chevy Suburban from Cottage Street onto College Avenue, Rumsey said.

Bolduc was riding a 2013 Harley-Davidson north on College Avenue just before 3:40 p.m. Thursday. As the Suburban backed into the avenue, the driver of a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee traveling north in front of Bolduc’s motorcycle slowed to try to avoid hitting the Suburban. Bolduc swerved in an attempt to avoid hitting the Jeep, but he struck the Jeep’s driver’s side and crashed, according to Rumsey. Bolduc was not wearing a helmet, he said.

Kenneth Merchant, 50, of Fairfield, was driving the Jeep and complained of neck pain after the accident, but he wasn’t taken to the hospital.

Rumsey would not identify the Suburban’s driver while the crash investigation continues and until it is determined whether criminal charges would be filed.

“There is still an investigation going on, identifying the dynamics of the accident itself, pre-accident maneuvers by the vehicles, what caused the accident and what factors were involved,” Rumsey said earlier Friday.

As news spread Friday afternooon of Bolduc’s death, friends wrote of their grief and shock on his wife’s Facebook page.

Grief, sorrow, heartbreak and remembrances of Bolduc as a loving and wonderful man were frequent themes on posts on Mary Liz Bolduc’s timeline.

Bolduc, who once owned the Butcher’s Choice restaurant in Fairfield, was taken by Delta Ambulance to MaineGeneral’s Thayer Center for Health on North Street and then taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he was said to be in critical condition Thursday night and Friday during the day.

After the crash, the motorcycle landed in the southbound lane of College Avenue, north of Cottage Street. Only the Jeep and motorcycle collided in the accident, according to Rumsey, and the Suburban’s driver was not injured in the crash.

“The Suburban was part of the accident in that its pre-accident maneuver set off the chain reaction that resulted in the crash,” he said.

Cottage Street is a short, dead end street off busy College Avenue, which is U.S. Route 201. An apartment house on the corner has a parking lot that abuts the street and College Avenue.

Rumsey said it is not against the law to back out of a side street or driveway into the road, but he said “drivers are required to drive with due regard for safety.”

College Avenue was closed to traffic from 3:40 p.m. to about 7 p.m. Thursday while Deputy District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh and Assistant District Attorney Frank Griffin worked with police at the scene, assessing and assisting with the investigation, according to Rumsey.

Two members of the Maine State Police Crash Reconstruction Unit were on the scene also helping to reconstruct the accident Thursday afternoon, he said.

Rumsey said the motorcycle and the Jeep sustained significant damage and were towed from the scene by Arbo’s Towing & Repair Service.

After a weekend earlier this month when four motorcyclists died, state Department of Public Safety spokesman Steven McCausland said that July and August are traditionally the deadliest months on Maine roads because they are the most heavily traveled months.

The weekend of Aug. 1, after the four motorcyclist deaths, McCausland said Maine’s total for the year was 17. There was another fatal motorcycle crash in Oxford last week.

According to the Bureau of Highway Safety, there were six motorcycle accidents between January and August last year, eight in 2013, 12 in 2012, seven in 2011 and 11 in 2010.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17