While the investigation continues into the second of two fatal crashes in Liberty in two days, local officials say they don’t know how two such serious crashes could have happened.

“We are hoping and praying that this is an unusual anomaly,” Liberty Town Administrator Kenneth Ortmann said Thursday. “I hope nothing more like this happens.”

Around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Janice Minson, 64, was headed home via Route 3 to Verona Island from an out-of-state vacation when that day’s crash happened, according to the Maine State Police.

In the area of Lake St. George State Park, Minson’s car strayed into the westbound lane of traffic and struck a pickup driven by Evan West, 20, of Liberty. West and two passengers, Samuel Levesque, 15, of Liberty, and Kolby Adams, 9, of Hope, were on their way to a nearby store.

Minson died shortly after she was taken to Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast, according to a news release from the state police; Adams died at the scene.

West was treated and released from the Belfast hospital. Levesque, who was injured more seriously, was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland. According to the state police’s release, the injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.


Vehicle parts remain at an accident scene Thursday on Route 3 near Lake St. George State Park in Liberty.

On Thursday, Maine Medical Center had no information about a patient by that name. Generally, no patient information about minors is released without the consent of a parent.

Attempts to reach Minson’s family and West on Thursday were unsuccessful.

The site of Wednesday’s crash was a quarter-mile from the site of a fatal crash that happened around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. State police said William Chadwick, 55, of Oakland, was killed when his pickup was struck head-on by a box truck driven by Dusan Dokic, 20, of Spanaway, Washington.

In both cases, Route 3 was closed for several hours. Both accidents remain under investigation.

An analysis by the state Department of Transportion shows that section of Route 3 does not meet the criteria to be considered a high crash location.

Ortmann said that section of Route 3 is not known to be particularly dangerous.


“It’s a relatively straight stretch of road,” Ortmann said. “The speed limit goes down along the lake, and my guess is that was done years ago.”

Route 3, which links Augusta to midcoast Maine, is traveled heavily in the summer, and the state park draws traffic as well.

Vehicle parts remain at an accident scene Thursday on Route 3 near Lake St. George State Park in Liberty.

Ortmann, who has been town administrator for two years, said the state seems to be doing a good job maintaining the state route, and salting and sanding after clearing the snow.

Earlier this year, rumble strips were added to the roadway.

Bill Gillespie, chief of the Liberty Fire Department, said his department responds to no more than a dozen crashes a year.

“We cover Palermo, Somerville and Montville, so it’s all hands on deck,” Gillespie said.


The accidents, he said, are taking a toll on the first responders in the area.

“We have a grave concern on the impact of the accidents,” Gillespie said, with three deaths in two days, including the death of a child.

He said one of his sons was the assistant chief at both accident scenes, and his youngest son also responded to both crashes.

A debriefing has been scheduled to let volunteers with both the Fire Department and the ambulance service know about resources that are available for counseling or other help.

“We have our eyes open for signs of PTSD,” he said.

These accidents come nearly year after a Liberty teen was killed in a crash on his way to school. Riley Boulay, 16, was driving to Mount View High School on Dec. 6, when he apparently lost control of his car near the intersection of Randlett and Morse roads in Montville. He died at the scene.


“We’re hoping this is a tragic coincidence that doesn’t repeat itself anytime soon,” Ortmann said.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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