Drivers of all four cars in Lebanon fatal knew each other

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Unidentified first responders survey the scene of a fatal accident on Little River Road Oct. 14. (Maine State Police photo)

LEBANON - The Sanford man who died when his car plunged into the Little River earlier this month knew all three operators of the cars he may have been attempting to pass when the tragic accident occurred.
"They all knew each other," State Trooper John Darcy said on Tuesday. "Some better than others, but he knew them all."
Jeffrey Brunelle, 32, was headed south on Little River Road around 12:30 a.m. on Oct. 14 when he failed to negotiate the curve just prior to the Grist Mill Bridge, veered off to the left and took out about 60 feet of guardrail before sailing off an embankment. The car traveled about 30 feet in the air, landing on its roof in shallow water near two large rocks on the other side of the river.
He died instantly, police say.
Both speed and alcohol are believed to be factors in the crash, Darcy said, though he wouldn't estimate just how fast Brunelle's vehicle may have been traveling.
Meanwhile, toxicology tests that could determine Brunelle's blood alcohol content aren't expected back for several weeks.
Darcy said the investigation revealed that Brunelle had passed one of the vehicles before losing control.
All three of the operators have been interviewed by police, Darcy said, adding there was no indication of any drag racing and no charges are expected in the case, which is now closed.
Jeff Adams, who lives in the historic Grist Mill house next to the bridge, and Val Higgins, who lives next to the Bog Brook bridge a short distance up the road north of the accident scene, said on the day of the accident that speeding between the bridges is an everyday occurrence.

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