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Criminal Mischief (12/18/2019)

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Bus crash cancels Christmas Carol

BURNHAM – A bus carrying a touring theatre group bringing a show to Orono overturned on the highway last week. Four people suffered minor injuries when the charter bus overturned late on the night of Dec. 10 on Interstate 95 in Burnham, north of Waterville. 

According to reports, the driver of the bus fell asleep and the bus drifted off the right side of the road, overturned on its passenger side and came to rest down an embankment. The injured were taken to hospitals in Pittsfield and Waterville with minor injuries. The 34 other passengers and driver were transported to a Waterville motel for the night. 

The group – the Nebraska Theater Caravan – was en route to Orono from Schenectady, NY ahead of their performance of “A Christmas Carol” at the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine on Dec. 11.

The crash took place about 11:30 p.m. and the bus was up righted by two wreckers just after 2AM and will be removed from the scene shortly.  The driver, 65-year-old Charles Barry of Omaha, Nebraska, was cited by troopers for failing to maintain control of the bus. The bus is owned by Arrow Stage Line of Omaha. 

The injured passengers were three women and one man - all in their 20s and 30s. Troopers arrived at the crash site minutes after the first calls came in of the crash and only a handful of the passengers were off the bus at the time. A school bus from nearby Fairfield transported the uninjured passengers to the Waterville motel. The group ranged in age from 11 to 49.  

Pittsfield and Clinton Police assisted troopers at the crash site and three ambulances were used to transport the injured to the two hospitals in Pittsfield and Waterville. 

Pittsfield pileup

PITTSFIELD – Unexpectedly poor weather conditions resulted in an incident involving nearly a dozen vehicles last week.

State Police say nine passenger vehicles, a wrecker and a tractor trailer truck were involved in a chain reaction crash on Interstate 95 in Pittsfield and Palmyra on the night of Dec. 13 as freezing rain caught motorists by surprise. The northbound lanes were closed for two hours as vehicles were towed from the scene and the roads were treated. 

The incident began when a vehicle skidded off the roadway into the median and a wrecker was called to the scene. As troopers arrived the interstate became ice covered and as other vehicles entered the crash zone, they were unable to slow down; the secondary crashes blocked both northbound lanes. 

Maine DOT was notified and Troopers closed I-95NB in Pittsfield by directing all northbound traffic off the interstate until the roadway could be treated. Troopers escorted motorists from their crashed vehicles to the high embankment along the road for their safety as vehicles continued to crash. One motorist had minor injuries and was checked by medical personnel at the scene. Pittsfield Police assisted Troopers with closing the highway. 

Freezing rain, the ice-covered roadway and motorists going too fast for conditions all contributed to the crashes. 

Highway stop leads to drug bust

BANGOR – A highway stop outside of Bangor led to a significant drug bust last week. State Police and Maine Drug Enforcement Agents charged three people and seized more than $130,000 worth of drugs.

Troopers assigned to the Troop E barracks in Bangor stopped a northbound vehicle just south of Bangor on I-95 on the night of Dec. 11. The vehicle was operated by Russell Raye, 34, of Cambridge, ME.  Also in the vehicle were Katherine Scott, 24, of Gilford and Matthew McKusick, 21, of Sangerville.

A drug detection dog alerted troopers to the presence of drugs in the vehicle and a search found about ten grams of cocaine, small amounts of heroin and methamphetamine and just under $2,000 in cash that is believed to be from the sale of drugs.

MDEA Agents, who have been gathering evidence on Raye as part of an ongoing investigation, worked together with Troopers from the Troop C barracks in Skowhegan and searched Raye’s residence on Leavitt Road in Cambridge. Agents and troopers seized from the home almost a pound and a half of suspected heroin, 96 grams of methamphetamine, and an additional $24,000 in cash. Two firearms were also recovered.

Raye faces charges of aggravated trafficking in heroin, trafficking in methamphetamine and cocaine. His bail is set at $250,000. Scott is charged with trafficking in cocaine and her bail is set at $75,000. McKusick was charged with trafficking in cocaine and possessing methamphetamine, and his bail is set at $75,000. All were taken to the Penobscot County Jail.

Good Samaritan returns $10K

AUGUSTA (AP) — A Maine man driving down the road saw what he thought was a pile of debris, and it turned out to be $10,000 — which he promptly helped return.

Augusta resident Raynard Grover pulled over in his hometown on Monday and found the bag of thousands of dollars in the road. He called Augusta police to report the find, which turned out to belong to the owner of a local business.

WABI-TV reports Power Equipment Plus owner Randy Violette had been bringing the cash to the bank. He had set a pile of cash that was slated for deposit from the previous day on the bumper of his car, and forgot it was there when he drove off.

Grover says he felt “anxiety, panic” when he found the money, but he knew he had to try to find its owner. Augusta Police Chief Jared Mills said “that somebody would come into that much money and turn that into the police department is pretty special.” He said it was especially thoughtful of Grover to make the gesture during the Christmas season.

Man turns playroom into meth lab

BUXTON (AP) — A Maine man is charged with transforming a children’s playroom inside a church into a meth lab.

Police arrested 33-year-old Matthew Anderson after receiving a complaint from a church member and discovering items consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine in the designated playroom at the Buxton United Methodist Church.

The Buxton Police Department sought assistance from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, which charged Anderson with unlawful operation of a methamphetamine lab.

Anderson made his initial court appearance on Friday, a day after his arrest.

Christmas toys donated to the church have been contaminated and cannot be given out to children in need, the church’s pastor said. Buxton community members donated two large boxes of toys, but for safety sake, the Buxton United Methodist Church will not be donating those items, Pastor Lynn Briggs said.

Briggs has planned to replace the items and said any gifts residents would like to donate would be gladly accepted.

The church has hired a company to clean up the vicinity and will be doing a chemical test Friday to check contamination.

Anderson is being held at the York County Jail on $50,000 bail.

Last modified on Tuesday, 17 December 2019 07:46

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