Augusta police report that two women driving separate vehicles were killed in an accident in the area of 650 Eastern Avenue on July 22nd. Officers responded to the accident around 2:45 p.m.
When officers arrived at the accident scene, they found a 2016 Hyundai Elantra and 2017 Toyota Corolla. Kelsey Buckmore, 26, of Augusta, was the driver of the Elantra, while Rachel Paquet, 26, of Smithfield was behind the wheel of the Corolla. Augusta Rescue personnel pronounced both women dead on the scene.
Although the accident has been reconstructed by the Maine State Police and Augusta police, the details of the incident are still under investigation by authorities.
Augusta Police Chief Deputy Kevin Lully said that Buckmore was driving eastbound on Eastern Avenue, while Paquet was driving westbound. One officer at the scene reported that Buckmore’s vehicle was allegedly passing vehicles in front of her and entered the westbound lane. Buckmore’s vehicle hit Paquet’s car head-on. Both cars sustained severe front end and driver’s side damage upon impact.
According to Lully, “We have confirmed she (Buckmore) had deviated from her lane but are still trying to piece together alleged information of her passing other cars.”
If you have any information regarding the accident, please contact the Augusta Police Department at (207) 626-2370. You can also leave an anonymous tip at (207) 620-8009.
Why Cautious Driving Can Save Lives
Our deepest condolences go out to the families of these two young women. Tragic accidents like this can be avoided if drivers simply follow the basic rules for passing another vehicle on the left. There is a general misconception that as long there is a dotted yellow line, it is safe to pass on the left. The reality is that far more needs to be taken into account before an individual decides to pass on the left.
First, even when you are passing the speed limit still applies. It is not safe, or legal, to go 50 mph in a 35 mph zone because you are trying to pass a slow-moving car on the left. Additionally, 29-A M.R.S.A. 2070 says:
“A passing vehicle may be operated to the left of the way’s center only when the left is clearly visible and free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit overtaking to be completed without interfering with the safe operation of an approaching or passed vehicle.”
The question becomes, what is a sufficient distance? The statute defines that as well. You must have enough space to pass and then return to your travel lane before you come within 100 feet of the approaching vehicle.
As an example, a professional basketball court is 94 feet long. So next time you are stuck behind a slow driver, and you start thinking about passing on the left, ask yourself, can I do this without exceeding the speed limit and still get back in my lane before I get within a basketball court of an oncoming car? If you question whether that is possible, then you shouldn’t attempt a pass.