Angela Knight went to cosmetology school after she lost her job at Nautica when the clothier closed its Rockland distribution center in 2002.

But her promising second career was cut short Wednesday. The 49-year-old was killed on her way home from work when an oncoming car crossed into her lane and struck her vehicle head-on. The driver of the other car, Sherry Cloutier, 52, of Augusta, also died at the scene on Route 17 in Union.

It was the third fatal accident the Knox County Sheriff’s Office has responded to since May 1.

Knight had attended Aveda Institute Maine in Augusta through a government program that re-trains people who lose their jobs to overseas competition. She became a successful hairstylist in the Rockland area, and six years ago returned to Aveda as a teacher in the cosmetology program.

“Angela was a good friend, a great teacher and a pillar of our institution,” said Aveda President Anthony Coco. “She touched the lives of so many people.”

Knight taught 100 to 150 students a year at the Aveda school, Coco said, and was loved by students and staff.

She is survived by a daughter, he said.

Knight was on her way home from the school when the crash occurred shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday. Cloutier’s 2011 Ford sedan had crossed completely into the oncoming lane as it rounded a curve heading west toward Augusta, police said.

The investigation is ongoing, but there is no indication Cloutier suffered any impairment or medical condition, Knox County Chief Deputy Tim Carroll said.

Attempts to reach family or friends of Cloutier were unsuccessful Friday.

Carroll said Knight would have had no time to react as she drove into the curve and saw the car in her lane. The speed limit is 55 mph on that stretch about 300 yards east of the Shepard Hill Road.

Blood tests have been conducted on both drivers, Carroll said, but there is no indication that either was impaired.

Sheriff’s deputies are retracing where Cloutier was earlier that day and will examine her cellphone to see if she was using it immediately before the crash, Carroll said.

“Obviously there was some short of distraction; she was completely in the other lane,” the deputy said.

The crash is the third fatal motor vehicle accident the Knox County Sheriff’s Office has responded to since May 1, when another head-on crash on Route 1 in Warren killed two people. A high-speed crash on May 25 in South Thomaston killed a 21-year-old man.

No specific cause has been determined in the May 1 crash, although one of the drivers involved had been speeding and crossed the center line, he said. In the South Thomaston crash, speed and alcohol are considered possible factors.

Carroll said he cannot recall any similar string of fatal accidents within such a short time and urged the public to avoid distractions when driving.

The fatalities have also prompted Carroll to make sure that the officers who respond cope with what they see. In addition to the accidents, deputies have responded to a May 24 fire in Union that killed an 80-year-old man and a Jan. 23 fire in Washington that killed a father and son.

Deputies are also dealing with frequent overdose deaths, he said.

Carroll said when officers arrive on the scene of a crash, fire, overdose, or other traumatic incident, they are trained to perform the investigation. But after the initial response, officers have time to think about what they experienced.

The string of fatalities also means that officers have had to make more frequent notifications to family members.

Carroll said he has had to notify family members of people who have died for 25 years, and the most difficult are notifying parents of the death of a child.

“I don’t know if I ever do it right. I ask myself after each one if I could have done it differently,” he said.

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