ANSON — A Madison man died Thursday morning after his SUV veered into the Kennebec River in Anson, according to officials.

Gary Ward, 86, died at the scene of a crash on Main Street, according to Chief Deputy Michael Mitchell of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.

Mitchell announced Thursday evening the Sheriff’s Office had been notified at 10:19 a.m. of the two-vehicle crash, according to a prepared statement released to the news media.

Deputies who responded to the crash discovered Ward’s vehicle had backed into the river, according to Mitchell.

Ward was driving a 2008 Toyota Highlander when he backed out of parking spaces in front of the Good & Plenty Diner at 53 Main St. and into a 2012 Nissan Frontier driven by Earl Rolfe, 79, of Madison, according to officials.

“Ward backed into Rolfe,” Mitchell said.  “After striking Rolfe’s vehicle, Ward continued backing across Main Street and into the Kennebec River, where his vehicle completely submerged into the water.”

Mitchell said the cause of the crash remained under investigation late Thursday. He also said Rolfe was not injured.

In a telephone interview Thursday evening, Mitchell said Ward might have suffered a medical emergency that preceded the crash.

A crane was used to recover Ward’s SUV from the river, with the Maine Warden Service and Maine State Police Underwater Recovery Unit providing assistance, according to Mitchell.

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