BERWICK — A 31-year-old Buxton man and a 73-year-old woman were among the four people killed in a collision on Route 4 in Berwick Saturday afternoon, when a car driven by the Buxton man made an “improper pass and slid into the path” of an oncoming car, police said.

The two others who died were a 29-year-old man and a 7-year-old boy who were passengers in the 1994 Honda driven by the Buxton man, Berwick police said in a statement Sunday morning.

The 73-year-old woman, whose hometown was not released, died after the accident at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, New Hampshire, police said. She was a passenger in a 2014 Ford Explorer that collided with the Honda, police said. The three others died at the scene.

People who live or work along the section of Route 4 – also known as Portland Street – where the head-on crash happened said Sunday it is a dangerous stretch that has been the scene of other fatal collisions in recent years.

Police said four others involved in Saturday’s crash were hospitalized with injuries that are not deemed life-threatening: a 22-year-old woman who was a passenger in the Honda, and a 46-year-old woman from Woburn, Massachusetts, who was driving the Explorer, as well as two of her passengers, a 49-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl.

Police did not identify the victims or their hometowns Sunday, saying they were still notifying families.

The 1:30 p.m. crash was the deadliest in Maine in more than three years.

The Berwick Police Department said the crash happened about a mile from the Links at Outlook golf course at 428 Portland St. near the Berwick Bark Park. Berwick is in southern York County.

A Berwick police dispatcher said officers cleared the scene shortly before 8:30 p.m. Saturday, seven hours after the accident.

Justin Baggs, a South Berwick firefighter who responded to the accident, posted on Facebook that it was “definitely one of the most horrible accidents I’ve been to in a while. Hug your loved ones a little tighter, little longer.”

Route 4 in Berwick was closed for several hours Saturday while the accident was reconstructed and investigated. The Maine Warden Service assisted local police. Traffic was diverted to Agamenticus Road and Knights Pond Road.


That stretch of Route 4, like many rural two-lane roads throughout Maine, is prone to serious accidents. Those who live and work near Saturday’s accident said in the past five years there have been at least three other fatal crashes on a milelong stretch between Childlight Montessori School and Salmon Falls Nursery and Landscaping.

The road is straight, the posted speed limit is 55 mph, and passing is allowed along several stretches, which encourages a lot of risky driving, they said Sunday. Rear-end collisions are frequent as vehicles travel close together at high speeds.

On Jan. 10, Jeremiah Smith, 31, of Sanford was killed when his car was rear-ended by an SUV and pushed into the path of an oncoming school bus.

On Sept. 2, 2014, Stephen Mickle, 63, of Ayer, Massachusetts, was killed when his motorcycle rear-ended a car making a right turn into a driveway.

On April 10, 2013, a local special education teacher was killed when an SUV driven by a 17-year-old boy crossed the centerline and struck her car. Amy Harris died instantly, police said. Her two children, then 7 and 4, were injured but survived. The teenager who caused the accident was not charged criminally, but Harris’ family later filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

After that accident a rumble strip was installed on the road, neighbors said.

On Saturday, Tom Elliott felt the crash happen in front of his home at 428 Portland St., next to the Red School House day care center.

“I was just coming out the door. You could feel it from the ground,” Elliott said Sunday.

He looked up to see a horrifying scene, a red SUV crumpled against the guardrail and the white Honda sedan split in two.

“I am glad the day care children were not here,” he said.

Chris and Mary Webber said they see hair-raising behavior every day as they watch the traffic whiz by their concession stand at Berwick Bark Park at 410 Portland St.

“We have literally stood here and watched cars towing boats passing other cars. People just fly by,” said Chris Webber.

Jamie Ricker of Ricker’s Mulch and More at 405 Portland St. said driving along Route 4 requires constant vigilance.

“You have got to pay attention,” said Ricker.

Webber said a prohibition on passing on Route 4 would probably help. All of those interviewed said part of the problem is the lack of a traffic light where Routes 4 and 236 intersect in South Berwick 2 miles away. On busy days the traffic backs all the way up to their homes and businesses.


Saturday’s accident in Berwick added to an already deadly couple of days on Maine roads.

A 15-year-old girl was killed in an accident in Edgecomb on Friday afternoon that also injured her three passengers. A man died in a rollover in Brownfield, also Friday. And a motorcyclist was killed in a crash Saturday afternoon in Auburn.

Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said the last time four people were killed in a motor vehicle accident in Maine was in March 2015 in the Aroostook County town of Stockholm. A car and an SUV collided on a snow-covered stretch of Route 161 north of Caribou, killing four and seriously injuring another person.

Icy roads also were a factor in a two-vehicle accident that killed six young adults in Poland during Christmas weekend 2006.

On Mother’s Day in 2004, three women and four children were killed in a crash on Interstate 95 in Carmel, about 10 miles south of Bangor. The SUV they were traveling in went out of control and crashed into a cluster of trees in the median. An investigation found that the vehicle was traveling 103 mph.

Maine’s deadliest motor vehicle accident occurred in 2002, when a van carrying 15 immigrant workers on a logging road near the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in Aroostook County plunged off a bridge. All but one died.


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