The sidewalk on Cony Road in Augusta ends at New England Road, about 150 yards from the site of a one-car crash that killed three pedestrians last Thursday afternoon. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

AUGUSTA — City officials are planning this week to discuss adding a sidewalk on the stretch of Cony Road in Augusta where three pedestrians, including a 1-year-old girl, were hit and killed by a car last week, between New England and Piggery roads.

Meanwhile, the police investigation into the crash is continuing this week. As of Tuesday, police said no charges had been filed against the driver of the car.

Local fundraising efforts had raised more than $73,000 as of Tuesday to help the families of those who died: Barbara Maxim-Hendsbee, 69; her year-old granddaughter, Vada-Leigh Peaslee; and Rosalyn Jean, 62, all of Augusta.

The three were killed while walking near 269 Cony Road, on the section between Piggery Road and New England Road. The only part of Cony Road, which is a fairly narrow, rural road, that has a sidewalk is between Eastern Avenue and New England Road.

Mayor David Rollins and Ward 2 City Councilor Kevin Judkins have both asked that Thursday night’s meeting of the Augusta City Council include a discussion on adding a sidewalk along the half-mile section of Cony Road between where the sidewalk ends at New England Road to Piggery Road, which is the site of numerous youth ball fields.

Rollins said calls for such a discussion were obviously prompted by the three deaths last week, but that section of Cony Road is also part of a loop used by area residents as a walking or jogging loop. He said the circular route, which Maxim-Hendsbee and Jean walked regularly, includes Eastern Avenue, Hospital Street, Piggery Road, which goes through the Capital Area Recreation Association sports complex, and Cony Road.

Rollins said there is no way to know whether a sidewalk would have prevented the accident, but said people using that section of road for walking and running means the city must consider adding a sidewalk there.

“Obviously, attention has been drawn to that area because (of) the tragedy,” Rollins said Tuesday. “I’m not attaching a cause and effect to the accident. A sidewalk may not have prevented that, but it’s something that’s on the front of people’s minds. Public safety always is. If we’re going to have pedestrians using that road more and more, it makes a lot of sense (to add a sidewalk). I’d be in favor of it.”

Rollins said the deaths of the three victims, who are from multigenerational Augusta families, are painful losses to the community. He said he hoped people feel bad for the driver in the accident, Robert Santerre, 56, of Chelsea, who was distraught at the accident scene.

Augusta police Sgt. Jesse Brann said Tuesday the investigation into the crash, including whether charges would be filed against Santerre, was still active. He said city police and the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office are conducting the investigation, and Maine State Police reconstructed the accident.

Police have said Santerre was not injured in the accident.

A GoFundMe page has been created to raise money for the families of the accident victims. It was started by Jessica Clarke of Windsor, and had raised more than $72,000 by Tuesday afternoon.

Clarke, in an update to the page, said the donations would be given to the families to help with expenses “surrounding arrangements to say goodbye to these three beautiful souls, these grief-stricken families could use support as they try to navigate their way through these devastating losses. Any amount donated will be used to help the families of Barbara, Rosalyn and Vada as they try to rebuild their lives.”

Clarke wrote online the generosity of the many donors was overwhelming.

The Red Barn, an Augusta restaurant, also held a fundraiser dinner Monday, at which staff members volunteered their time, with all proceeds from sales going to the accident victims’ families. Laura Benedict, owner of The Red Barn, said the well-attended event raised more than $15,000 in three hours.

The obituary for Maxim-Hendsbee included: “So many hearts are forever scarred by the passing of this beautiful woman. Our family would like to express the sincere gratitude we are feeling for the outpouring of love and support from the entire community. We ask that Barbara’s example inspires all to love, forgive, support the underdog, and always show thanks.”

An obituary for Maxim-Hendsbee’s granddaughter, Vada-Leigh Peaslee, daughter of Ronald Peaslee Jr. and Megan (Hendsbee) Peaslee, included that she was the light in her family’s hearts.

“The precious comfort of new life gleamed inside all of us because of our perfect little angel, Vada-Leigh,” the obituary reads. “She provided all of us with a blanket of love, will forever be a part of our souls, and will be so greatly missed here on earth.”

The obituary also noted the child’s last act of kindness was to donate her heart valves in hope they will be transplanted to provide another chance at life for another child.

The obituary for Jean described her as loving to her family and friends, for whom there was nothing she would not do, and always ready with a smile and conversation, with an enthusiastic and social nature allowing her to form many wonderful relationships.

A celebration of life for Jean and her friend Maxim-Hendsbee is planned to begin at noon Saturday, June 5, at the Calumet Club at 334 West River Road in Augusta.

Hendsbee retired Dec. 29, 2017, as an outside advertising representative with the Morning Sentinel. She also worked for the Kennebec Journal. She had been with the company since Nov. 6, 1978.

Jean worked in state government for 40 years, specializing in finance with the Department of Environmental Protection, until her recent retirement.

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