State Trooper Patrick Munzing works the controls of the drone he is flying over the accident scene last Thursday on Cony Road, near New England Road in Augusta. The car involved in the accident is in the ditch behind him. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file Buy this Photo

AUGUSTA — The driver who hit and killed three pedestrians in Augusta last Thursday afternoon, including a 1-year-old girl in a stroller, told police he fell asleep at the wheel.

Robert Santerre, 56, of Chelsea told officers he had fallen asleep while driving on Cony Road, according to an accident report filed by Sara Rogers, one of the officers who responded to the crash May 20.

The report also noted the three pedestrians — Barbara Maxim-Hendsbee, 69; her year-old granddaughter, Vada-Leigh Peaslee; and Rosalyn Jean, 62, all area residents — “were walking off the roadway in the gravel area,” on the roadside shoulder, and were not in the road.

The three were headed northbound, to the side of the southbound lane, when the 2015 Nissan, which was traveling northbound, crossed the centerline, hit the pedestrians and then struck a utility pole near 269 Cony Road.

The report lists Santerre’s condition at the time of the crash as asleep or fatigued.

Chief Jared Mills of the Augusta Police Department said Thursday officers were still investigating the crash, including efforts to substantiate Santerre’s claim he had fallen asleep.


“At this point driver fatigue or the operator falling asleep is a circumstance we are investigating but we are waiting for other pieces of evidence to be analyzed like blood tests to actually determine the exact cause,” Mills wrote Thursday in an email. “At this point we have not made a definitive determination but will do a press release when that happens.”

Flowers at the scene last Friday of a one-car crash that killed two women and a 1-year-old girl in a stroller last Thursday as the women walked the west side of Cony Road in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file Buy this Photo

Augusta officials were planning Thursday night to discuss adding a sidewalk to the stretch of Cony Road where the three pedestrians were killed, between New England and Piggery roads.

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 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 reportedly 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 was no way to know whether a sidewalk would have prevented the accident, but said people using that section of road for walking or running requires the city consider adding a sidewalk there.

Vada-Leigh Peaslee is the daughter of Ronald Peaslee Jr. and Megan (Hendsbee) Peaslee.

Local fundraising efforts, including a GoFundMe page created by a friend of the victims to raise money for families of the accident victims, had raised more than $92,000 as of Thursday.

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