Five of the six victims from this weekend's spate of fatal accidents weren't wearing their seat belts, according to the director of the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety.
The bureau, however, said the weekend highway death toll was inordinately high. Director Lauren Stewart said most troubling was that five of the six killed were not wearing their seat belts, adding that seat belts are the single most effective thing you can do to prevent injury and ejection in a motor vehicle crash.
Among those who died were two young men killed in crashes in Alfred and Perham and a man and woman along the Golden Road, near Millinocket. Troopers said none of those victims were wearing seat belts and all died at the scene after being thrown out of the vehicles.
The Alfred crash late Saturday night claimed the life of 31-year-old Joseph Barbarino of Alfred whose car overturned several times on Mouse Lane. The crash took place just before 10 p.m. Troopers said Barbarino was thrown out the car's rear window after it struck a ditch, overturned several times and came to rest against a tree.
Early Saturday morning in Indian Purchase Township, a couple from Millinocket died when their pickup truck went off the Golden Road and came to rest down a steep embankment. Killed in the wreck was 44-year-old Kevin Baker and 50-year-old Julie Columbo. Troopers said speed and alcohol were factors in the crash. Baker was believed to be the driver. The crash was reported about 12:30 am Saturday.
Late Friday night in Perham, in Aroostook County, 29-year-old Kyle Goding of Perham was killed when his mini-van overturned several times off Route 228. Speed and alcohol were factors in that crash, too.
A crash Sunday night in Hampden killed an elderly woman and injured four people, including two children and two adults, according to WLBZ-TV. The woman was driving the wrong way on U.S. Route 202 and hit a second car, the Bangor television station reported.
Also up in Penobscot County, Maine State Police said one man was killed and another critically injured when the driver of a car they were riding in fell asleep and crashed on Interstate 95 early Sunday near Medway.
Stewart said Maine highway death numbers had been running behind last year, until this weekend, adding 129 people have been killed on Maine roads as of today. That compares with 128 highway deaths, as of this date a year ago. She said 14 people were killed on Maine roads during October, and the November death count now stands at 11.