When Patrick Vaillancourt announced to his wife Jeanine that he was buying a motorcycle this spring, she said to “go for it.”

The couple quickly became devoted to the maroon Harley-Davidson three-wheeler, meeting up with other riders just for a cup of coffee or longer rides.

“They loved motorcycling,” said Eric Reece, one of Margaret “Jeanine” Vaillancourt’s brothers. “My sister was sort of wary at first but after they went a few times, she loved it too … They would go up to northern Maine to Katahdin, the White Mountains, Vermont. They traveled everywhere.”

The couple – Patrick was 67, Jeanine 64, both of Wales – were riding on Route 113 in Hiram on Monday, most likely returning from a New Hampshire trip, at 2 p.m. when a pickup truck crossed the center line and hit them head-on, killing both instantly.

There have been 26 motorcycle fatalities on Maine roads so far this year, making it the deadliest on record for at least 24 years. The number of motorcycle fatalities usually varies from year to year, between 12 and 24, said state police spokesman Steve McCausland. The previous worst year was in 1991, when 34 people died in motorcycle crashes.

Five people were killed over the Labor Day weekend in motorcycle crashes, making it the worst Labor Day holiday for motorcycle fatalities since at least 1994, the most recent statistics available electronically, according to the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety.


The fatal crashes over the weekend included a 40-year-old man in Caribou, a 21-year-old man in Falmouth and a 40-year-old man in Lebanon, in addition to the Vaillancourts.

The driver of the pickup that collided with the Vaillancourts, Kenneth Bouffard, 33, of Hiram, was treated and released from Maine Medical Center. Investigators have not determined why Bouffard crossed the center line and he has not been charged with a crime. Police took blood tests, as is required in all crashes with serious injuries or death, to determine whether alcohol or drugs were involved. The results have not yet come back.

Bouffard has no previous criminal record in Maine. His driving history includes a conviction in 2014 for failing to obey a traffic control device, speeding tickets in 2006 and 2009 and failing to obey a stop sign in 2005. He was involved in car crashes in 2004 and 2009. No one was injured in either accident.

Patrick Vaillancourt worked at Bath Iron Works for more than 40 years, retiring in recent years as an insulator, Reece said. He served in the Marine Corps and was awarded a Purple Heart. He was remembered Tuesday as someone who enjoyed joking around.

The Vaillancourts met online and married in 2006, Reece said. They both were devoted to their grandchildren from previous relationships, even buying electric cars for the children to drive around their property.

“They’re two of the happiest people I know,” Reece said. “They were so happy together you wouldn’t see them apart.”


Patrick Vaillancourt had a lot of toys, his brother-in-law said. He had purchased a four-wheeler in the spring and enjoyed his Kubota tractor and zero-turn riding mower, as well as a 26-foot pleasure boat. He also doted on his new Harley-Davidson three-wheeler.

“He kept it parked in the garage and he’d shine it up whenever there was dust on it,” Reece said.

Reece said his sister had just gotten her learner’s permit and had been practicing on the back road but hadn’t yet driven the motorcycle on the highway.

Police said they only found one helmet at the crash scene, though Reece said both his sister and his brother-in-law were religious about wearing their helmets whenever they rode. Police said that helmets likely would not have saved either of them in Monday’s collision.

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