CARATUNK — Two woman were killed Saturday evening when their car made contact with a friend’s pickup truck, went out of control and hit a tree on Route 201 in Caratunk, according to police.

Jordan Merchant, 25, of Eastbrook and her passenger, Lindsey Walsh, 28, of Lakeville, Massachusetts, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers responded at about 5 p.m. to the crash, according to the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.

“The investigation thus far revealed that (Merchant) was heading south on Route 201 in Caratunk, when she lost control of her vehicle after being struck from behind by another vehicle driven by Eric Tankerley, 33, of Moscow,” according to a statement the Sheriff’s Office released to the news media.

Caratunk is in Somerset County, about 40 miles northwest of Skowhegan.

In a telephone call Sunday, Chief Deputy Michael Mitchell of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office said Tankerley and his passenger were friends with Merchant and Walsh. The group had been at a local swimming hole in The Forks earlier in the day and were headed to Moscow to watch a hockey game.


Mitchell said Merchant was driving a 2018 Chevrolet Cruz in an area where the posted speed limit is 55 mph, when Tankerley tried to pass the vehicle in his 2019 Dodge Ram pickup truck. Mitchell said both vehicles began speeding up, and it appears Merchant’s car made slight contact with Tankerley’s truck, which spun her vehicle out of control and onto the left side of the road.

It is unclear how fast the vehicles were traveling at the time of the crash, according to Mitchell. Merchant and Walsh were not wearing seat belts, while Tankerley and his passenger, Daniel Reis, age 34 of Massachusetts were wearing seat belts and not hurt.

Speed and alcohol appear to have been contributing factors in the crash, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Mitchell said it was not clear Sunday if charges were expected because officials were still investigating and reconstructing the crash. The pickup truck was not damaged during the crash, according to Mitchell.

The Maine State Police, Maine Warden Service, Bingham Fire Department and Upper Kennebec Valley Ambulance Service also responded to the crash.

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