May 6, 2010

Fatal crash knocks out power

Vienna woman, 76, killed

By Scott Monroe smonroe@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

OAKLAND — A Vienna woman was killed this morning when the car she was driving veered off High Street and crashed through two utility poles, police said.

click image to enlarge

FATAL CRASH: An Oakland police officer inspects the scene of a fatal car accident on High Street in Oakland Thursday morning. Beatrice Gagnon, of Vienna, was killed in the crash.

Photo by Jason McKibben

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The accident knocked out power to 4,500 customers in central Maine, according to a Central Maine Power Co. spokesman.

Beatrice Gagnon, 76, was the only person in the car. She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Oakland police Capt. Rick Stubbert.

Stubbert said police still were investigating the single-car crash, which was reported at 10:46 a.m.

“Witnesses say the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed before it took out two telephone poles and came to a rest,” Stubbert said. “The vehicle was badly destroyed.”

Gagnon was a “wonderful woman” who has a daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren who live in Vienna, according to Town Clerk Connie Smith. Gagnon’s husband, George, died last year, she said.

“She was a really caring, sweet lady,” Smith said.

In a letter Beatrice and George Gagnon wrote to the Morning Sentinel in 2007, they thanked Inland Hospital in Waterville for the service they received at the emergency room. The Gagnons wrote that they were both retired and “worked in health care in another state for many years.”

Gagnon, in a 2000 Subaru Outback, was traveling east on a downhill portion of the road, which is also U.S. Route 137. Even though there were several periods of heavy rain Thursday, the conditions were dry and clear at the time, Stubbert said.

Police don’t know what led Gagnon’s vehicle to crash into the poles, Stubbert said. Gagnon was wearing a seat belt at the time and the vehicle’s airbags deployed. Alcohol was not believed to be a factor, he said.

High Street was shut down to traffic shortly after the crash and remained closed late this afternoon.

Oakland Fire and Rescue crews responded to the scene, along with officers from the Maine State Police and the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, which are reconstructing the accident. A crew from Central Maine Power on scene Thursday repairing the telephone poles.

Central Maine Power Company spokesman John Carroll said power was not restored until late this afternoon. He said afternoon thunderstorms created 4,100 other outages in nearby Somerset County in the towns of Madison, St. Albans and Pittsfield.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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