October 15, 2013

Police: Woman in Monday crash in Unity Township killed after dog distracted on-coming driver

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

UNITY TOWNSHIP — A driver was killed Monday on Route 139 when a dog in an oncoming pickup truck apparently jumped into the truck driver’s lap, jerking the steering wheel and sending the truck crashing head-on into the car driven by the person who died, according to officials.

click image to enlarge

Kennebec Sheriff Office Sgt. Frank Hatch, left, surveys the scene of a two-vehicle fatal accident on Route 139 in Unity Township on Monday. A 59-year-old woman died in the Chevrolet Cavalier, background, after it collided with a pickup truck driving in the opposite direction, according to Hatch.

Staff photo by David Leaming

click image to enlarge

Unity firefighters survey a pickup truck that rolled over after colliding with a Chevrolet Cavalier on Route 139 in Unity Township on Monday.

Staff photo by David Leaming

Donna Jackson, 59, of Waterville and Knox, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Ryan Reardon, chief deputy of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.

Jackson was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier east on Route 139, also called Waterville Road, when the 2 p.m. accident occurred, Reardon said.

He said the 1995 Ford pickup truck, being driven west by Tyler Brackett, 29, of Unity, crossed the center line and collided head-on with the Chevrolet.

“It appears that the dog was not secure in the vehicle and, according to deputy reports, hopped into his lap, causing the steering wheel to be jarred,” Reardon said.

Brackett was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland after the crash, according to Reardon. He was listed in satisfactory condition Tuesday afternoon, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Jackson’s mother, Lilla Jackson, 83, of Unity, was riding in the Chevrolet’s front passenger seat at the time of the crash, Reardon said. Denice Jackson, 56, who Reardon said is either Donna Jackson’s sister or sister-in-law, was in the back seat.

Lilla Jackson was listed in fair condition Tuesday at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, according to a hospital spokeswoman. Denice Jackson was taken to Thayer Campus, MaineGeneral Medical Center, in Waterville, Reardon said. A MaineGeneral spokeswoman said Tuesday afternoon that Denice Jackson was in fair condition.

Reardon said the women’s injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Both vehicles were destroyed in the crash. The dog was uninjured.

Reardon said the accident is under investigation and that no charges had been filed as of Tuesday.

“At this point it’s so premature. It’s going to be some time before we decide if any citations or charges will be filed,” he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

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