Family members say Joshua Martin, who lived in North Yarmouth with his fiancée, Danyelle Hilton, was a loving, nurturing father to his daughter, Laila Martin, left, and Hilton’s children, Sean and Haylie Glass. Family photo

The family of a 36-year-old North Yarmouth man was reeling Wednesday after his death Tuesday night in a traffic accident on Interstate 295 during his commute home.

Joshua Martin was killed when his 2005 PT Cruiser was struck from behind near Exit 10 in Falmouth as traffic slowed for another crash a short distance away involving a truck that had driven off the road and into a median guardrail.

Martin had started to build a better life for himself and his family after years of battling heroin addiction, said his parents, Brenda and Jim Martin of Yarmouth.

They said they were stunned Tuesday night when police notified them of his death.

“I thought he was going to die from an overdose, not a car accident,” Brenda Martin said.

“We expected to get the call one day (that he had overdosed),” Jim Martin added. “But we were not prepared for this. That’s what made it so hard.”

Martin was a loving father to three children and worked tirelessly to put his family first, said Christine Cassella of Portland, 31, the mother of one of the children.

“If there was anything that Josh excelled at in life, it was being a father,” said Cassella. “He was incredibly patient and very understanding and nurturing. Whether it was his own daughter or his stepkids, that was always his priority, 100 percent.”

Joshua Martin most recently worked as a medical marijuana caregiver.

Martin was raised in Yarmouth by his mother, Brenda, and has deep ties to the town. He moved in with his fiancée, Danyelle Hilton, in North Yarmouth, where he was helping to raise her two children, Sean Glass, 10, and Haylie Glass, 7, Cassella said Wednesday evening.

Cassella said she, Hilton and Martin were friends and worked together to co-parent the children. Martin’s daughter with Cassella, 10-year-old Laila Martin, lived with her mother during the week, then spent every weekend and major holiday with Martin, Cassella said.

“We were talking about him sleeping over at our house for Christmas morning because he had gotten here for every Christmas,” Cassella said. “Every single day, all of those kids came first. And everybody was friends.”

“We had a really good relationship and loved each other very much,” Hilton said. “I lost my best friend, my rock, my soulmate, and my kids have lost the only father they’ve known.”

Martin, a graduate of Yarmouth High School, most recently worked as a medical marijuana caregiver and had become increasingly involved in that community, Cassella said.

Before that, he was a skilled carpenter and landscaper, but he suffered from chronic pain caused by residual nerve damage from multiple surgeries he underwent for a lung condition.

Joshua Martin’s family says the birth of his daughter, Laila, 10 years ago changed his life. Family photo from Facebook

“It was always his chronic pain that kept him from doing what he always wanted and what he was really good at,” Cassella said.

Martin’s parents, said their son’s death has created a huge void in their life after they spent years helping him recover from his addiction.

He still suffered from pain and depression in recent years, they said, but he never wavered in his support for his children.

The Martins said they were proud of their son for recovering from his addiction, which started in his late teens. After he had lung surgery when he was 17, doctors began prescribing OxyContin to help him deal with chronic pain, his mother said.

After his pain prescriptions ran out, Martin turned to black market drugs and became addicted to heroin, his family said.

“We spent a lot of money trying to help him, and we never gave up on him,” his father said.

Danyelle Hilton says, “I lost my best friend, my rock, my soulmate,” when Joshua Martin was killed Tuesday in a crash on Interstate 295. Family photo

When Martin’s daughter was born 10 years ago, his life started to change. Jim Martin said his son started to accept his responsibilities as a parent and began tapering his pain medications over a period of several months.

In August 2010, Martin walked out of a methadone clinic and told the staff, “I’m done,” his family said.

“He didn’t turn back after that,” Cassella recalled. “It was just amazing.”

His family said they have not been told what caused Tuesday’s fatal crash. The state police investigation continued Wednesday, but weather was likely not a factor, they said.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police, identified the driver of the 2007 Volvo station wagon that struck Martin’s car as Margaret Anne King, 17, of West Bath.

King suffered minor injuries and was taken to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick by her parents. She has been cooperating with police.

Late Wednesday afternoon, no determination had been made whether King would face charges.

“Investigators need more time to determine what happened before making any decisions on charges,” McCausland said.

Anyone who saw the crash and has not already spoken with police should call Maine State Police at 657-3030.

After the fatal wreck, traffic in the northbound lanes came to a complete stop. State police worked with officials from the Department of Transportation to turn around hundreds of vehicles, which then traveled south in the northbound lanes until they crossed over to southbound lanes at the Falmouth-Portland line.

About 50 passenger vehicles and tractor-trailers did not make the turnaround, so their drivers had to wait for hours for the road to be cleared, state police said.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @DennisHoey

Staff Writer Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

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Twitter: MattByrnePPH disables reader comments on certain news stories, including those dealing with sexual assault and other violent crimes, personal tragedy, racism and other forms of discrimination.

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