Kerry Kiernan, a single mother of four who played semi-pro football for the Maine Freeze and had a black belt in karate, died early Sunday of injuries sustained in a car accident. She was 45.

Kiernan, of Sanford, was killed in a two-vehicle crash just before 1:45 a.m. Sunday on Route 111 near the intersection of Limerick Road in Arundel, York County Sheriff William King said in a news release. The preliminary investigation shows that Kiernan was driving her 2005 Chevrolet Impala east on Route 111 when it crossed the center line and hit an oncoming black 2016 GMC Sierra driven by John Sanborn, 22, of Alfred.

Kiernan was ejected from her vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. Sanborn was taken to SMHC Biddeford and treated for minor injuries. Attempts to contact him were unsuccessful.

King said in a phone interview Wednesday that deputies are still investigating the accident. He said a toxicology report is pending.

An obituary posted by Carll-Heald & Black Funeral Home says Kiernan moved from Long Island, New York, to Sanford as a teenager. She attended Sanford High School and became the first girl to play on the boys football team.

A picture of a young Kiernan wearing her football uniform sporting No. 41 was posted on social media sites Monday with the headline, “Girls Can Compete.”

“Football is not just for boys according to the halfback and linebacker Kerry Kiernan. Kerry is Sanford Junior High’s first female football player. At 5 feet 2 inches, Kerry is able to go against the biggest and best in the league,” the caption said.

In more recent years, Kiernan played fullback on the Maine Freeze women’s football team.

According to her obituary, Kiernan had a black belt in karate, loved music and liked to sing karaoke.”

Kiernan was a single mother of four children, Jonathan, Alexis, Daniel and Amanda Kiernan, all of Sanford. She also leaves a granddaughter, Scarlett Anatra.

According to Kiernan’s obituary, she was “the glue that held them together.”

“She was an amazing mother, sister and friend,” her obituary said. “Kerry impacted more people than she realized. Her greatest joy was being a grandmother to Scarlett, and she had another grand baby on the way. She was much loved and will be dearly missed.”Her children and younger sister, Tracy Kiernan declined to comment, although her kids have posted thoughts and memories of her on Facebook.

Her son, Dan Anatra wrote, “Even if you live right down the street and don’t feel the need to visit your parents on a day to day or even a week to week bases. Just do it,” he wrote. “You never know when they’ll be gone and you won’t get to see them again. I love you mom and I know you’ll be with us the rest of our lives still laughing at our stupidity and just watching right over our shoulders. You raised us on your own to be the individuals we are today and, I would say ain’t no one could of done it better. We will all make you proud, so you may continuing bragging about us to everyone upstairs. I love you so much Kerry Kiernan.”

A Go-Fund-Me Page was established on Monday to help defray the cost of Kiernan’s services. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, $3,941 has been raised. To make a donation, go to

A celebration of Kiernan’s life will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Carll-Heald & Black Funeral Home, 580 Main St. in Springvale.

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MelanieCreamer

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