One driver is dead and another driver is charged with drunken driving following a fiery head-on collision Tuesday night in Strong, police said.

The 2005 Chevrolet pickup truck involved in the fatal crash was registered to a Wilton resident, according to a news release from Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols. Police did not release the name or gender of the deceased driver immediately.

The driver of the other vehicle, Mark Garner, 24, of Rangeley, was arrested at the scene on a class B felony charge of operating under the influence resulting in death. Speed and alcohol are believed to be factors in the crash, Nichols said.

Garner was not hurt in the crash, but two passengers in his 2007 GMC pickup truck suffered injuries. There were taken to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington after the accident and were treated and released Tuesday night, according to hospital spokeswoman Jill Gray.

The accident was reported around 7:46 p.m., when Franklin County dispatch received a call about a traffic accident involving entrapment on Lambert Hill Road in Strong, according to Nichols. When Franklin County Deputy Andrew Morgan arrived at the scene, he found that two pickup trucks had collided head-on and both were on fire.

Garner and his passengers were able to get out of their burning vehicle; however, the driver and sole occupant of the Chevrolet pickup was not able to escape. After the flames were extinguished, the Strong Fire Department extracted the body from the truck, Nichols said.

The crash is still under investigation, and additional criminal charges may be brought. A preliminary investigation revealed that Garner was driving north going downhill on Lambert Hill Road at a rate of excessive speed, according to passengers in his vehicle.

Garner then allegedly crossed the centerline, colliding with the Chevrolet pickup, which was moving south. Upon impact, both vehicles immediately became engulfed in flames, Nichols said.

The Office of the State Medical Examiner was working to determine the cause of death and the identity of the deceased driver.

Franklin County Lt. David St. Lauren, Sgt. Matt Brann and Deputy District Attorney James Andrews oversaw the investigation. Sgt. Kevin Hartley and Detective Kenneth Charles were reconstructing the crash.

Garner appeared in court Wednesday, though a court clerk did not know if he had entered a plea. A motion seeking the appointment of an attorney was filed in Garner’s case, the clerk said. A date had not yet been scheduled for Garner’s next court appearance.

He was being held Wednesday at the Franklin County Jail in Farmington.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate


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