February 22, 2013

Fairfield police officer not likely to be charged in crash

William Beaulieu failed to yield during U-turn to pursue a speeding vehicle on Jan. 31, but duty called, DA says; AG to weigh in

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

FAIRFIELD  — A police officer involved in a traffic accident last month on U.S. Route 201 failed to yield to oncoming traffic, but did so in the line of duty and probably will not be charged with a motor vehicle infraction.

click image to enlarge

Fairfield police officer William Beaulieu cruiser after it collided with a tractor trailer truck on U.S. Route 201 in Fairfield in January.

Staff photo by David Leaming

A crash report by Maine State Police released Friday by Town Manager Joshua Reny showed that Officer William Beaulieu of the Fairfield police failed to yield the right of way when his cruiser made a U-turn in the road and was struck by a truck on Jan. 31.

Maeghan Maloney, district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties, said Beaulieu appears to have had good reason to make the sudden turn, because it was in the course of his job and he probably wll not be cited with a violation.

Because the accident involved injuries and a municipal vehicle, however, Maloney said she will ask Assistant Attorney General William Stokes to look at the state police report as well.

“For most people, a U-turn in the middle of Route 201 would not be permissible, and that would be an issue; but he was doing his job. He was going after a speeder,” Maloney said. “Granted, he made a mistake in doing his job, but I see that differently. ... If, for example, he did a U-turn because there was a restaurant that he wanted to go to, ... that would be a problem.”

Beaulieu suffered minor injuries to his head, neck and back and was treated and released from MaineGeneral Medical Center in Waterville. The cruiser was destroyed.

The truck’s driver was not injured. The truck, a road tractor without a trailer attached, sustained only minor damage.

The report notes that Beaulieu, who was southbound, made the U-turn to pursue a speeding vehicle traveling north.

Fairfield police said Beaulieu had his cruiser lights on, but no siren, and simply didn’t see the truck coming the other way.

Accident reconstruction work closed the road for about three hours.

Detective Sgt. Kingston Paul of the Fairfield Police Department said an internal investigation into the accident is incomplete. He said the results of that probe will not be made public because it is a personnel matter.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367


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