The driver of a car who struck a horse-drawn wagon that was part of Waterville’s Central Maine Family Dinner activities apparently was blinded by the sun and didn’t see the wagon ahead of him in the road, police said Saturday.

No decision has been made about whether charges will be filed against Richard Libby, 73, of Clinton, after his 2016 Chrysler sedan struck the wagon, injuring seven, including one woman who is in critical condition after she was run over by his car.

A news release Saturday from Waterville police said conclusions from what is expected to be an extensive investigation into the accident will be forwarded to a legislative committee set up to study hayride safety.

“It appears Libby’s vision was impaired by the angle and intensity of the afternoon sun and he did not see the carriage before striking it,” Waterville Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey said in the release.

Libby and Cathleen Simmons, 42, of Sidney, who was driving the wagon, both were taken to the hospital for blood tests following the accident, but “based on the preliminary stage of this investigation, it appears that neither speed nor alcohol were a factor,” Rumsey said in the release.

Simmons said she had made the trip roughly eight times Friday, and though the sun was bright, she said she was able to deter it easily by wearing a baseball cap.

Neither Libby nor Simmons was injured in the accident.

Kathy Marciarille, 56, of Rome, suffered the most serious injury when she fell off the wagon and then apparently was hit and run over by Libby’s car, according to the release.

Marciarille had to be removed from under the car by emergency responders. She was taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Thayer Unit in Waterville for emergency treatment before being tranferred by LifeFlight helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where she was listed in critical condition Saturday.

Six others suffered minor injuries, according to police. Fourteen passengers were on the wagon ride. All but two of them were adults. The two toddler-age children on the ride were not hurt.

The two horses pulling the wagon, Princess and Belle, also were not hurt, police said.

“I’m always worried about it. People fly by us like we weren’t there,” Simmons said.

Simmons said she has been driving horses since she was 15 and this is the first accident that she has been involved in.

“I didn’t even know what was happening until someone started saying there was someone trapped under a car,” Simmons said.

As the wagon driver, she said her first instinct was to get the horses steady, fearing that if the car somehow was attached to the wagon and the horses moved, they would drag the car farther, injuring the person trapped under it.

If horses are leading a wagon, it must be driven in the roadway because the shoulder is not large enough to accommodate a wagon, which is almost as wide as a car, Simmons said.

“People just don’t respect the horses. They don’t give them space. They don’t slow down,” Simmons said.

The accident happened shortly after 2:30 p.m. when the horse-drawn wagon, part of the popular free annual Central Maine Family Dinner held at the Elks lodge and owned by S&S Carriage Rides, of Sidney, was traveling west on the road, carrying 14 passengers and Simmons. Libby, also traveling west on the road, struck the carriage from behind.

“The force of the crash was significant, and caused the seat upon which Simmons was sitting, to break,” the release said.

The Central Maine Family Dinner draws hundreds of people, and the wagon rides on the dead-end road in the northwest end of Waterville were part of the event for attendees and volunteers. Simmons said she had given roughly eight rides that day, all on the roadway. She said she actually was finished for the day before the ride that ended in the accident, but that some attendees had asked if she would go for one last ride.

Police say the injured included Marciarille, as well as Maria Hyatt, 55, of Arundel; Joseph Hyatt, 59, Arundel; Kimberly Knox-Lawrence, 53, Albion; Stacey Hachey, 53, Winslow; Andrew Giroux, 41, Winslow; and Marty Baird, 46, of Massachusetts. All were listed as having suffered minor injuries.

Passengers on the hayride who weren’t injured were Brenda Blair, 59, Clinton; Norman Lawrence, 64, Albion; Krislyn Hyatt, 26, Arundel; Tammy Giroux, 44, Oakland; Sophia Giroux, 4, Oakland; Andrew Giroux, 2, Oakland; and Jeanette Deluca, 85, Commack, New York.

Rumsey said that immediately after the crash, which was called in to the Waterville Communications Center at 2:35 p.m., six members of the Waterville Police Department responded to assist and investigate. They were joined by two members of the Maine State Police and two from the Fairfield Police Department, who responded to reconstruct and forensically map the crash scene, and three members of the Office of the State Fire Marshal, who also assisted with the investigation at the scene.

Rumsey said Waterville police will retain primary investigative responsibility for the accident, with the fire marshal’s office providing assistance.

What’s found will be reported to a legislative study committee that is considering how best to ensure safety for wagon rides. That committee was formed after a hayride accident in October 2014 in Mechanic Falls killed Oakland teenager Cassidy Charette and injured 20 others.

Rumsey said further investigation of Friday’s accident will be done on Libby’s car, which was towed to Ace Towing, “where it will undergo further inspection for mechanical defects and for evidence gathering and analysis.”

“A final conclusion on the cause of the accident is not anticipated to be available for some time” because of “the complicated nature of the reconstruction investigation,” Rumsey said.

“Any decision regarding potential charges resulting from this crash will be made by this agency when the investigation is concluded,” he said.

A call to the organizers of the Central Maine Family Dinner was not returned immediately. A member at the Waterville Elks Lodge said the Elks’ only involvement in Friday’s event was the donation of the use of the lodge, so the member declined to comment further.

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