Police: Maine firefighter killed in crash, fell asleep at wheel
“Based on every piece of evidence we’ve seen so far, we believe Mr. Weymouth fell asleep at the wheel and slowly drifted across the centerline into an oncoming vehicle"
Portland Press Herald, Maine
SOUTH PORTLAND — Lt. Harry Weymouth, a longtime city firefighter and paramedic , who died Thursday after a head-on collision in Hollis, fell asleep while driving home from a second job as a registered nurse at Southern Maine Health Care in Sanford, Maine State Police investigators say.
South Portland Lt. Harry Weymouth, seen leading a fitness program in 2005, was known as a dedicated co-worker, quiet mentor and community leader.
Weymouth, 46, had worked a “mini-shift” from 7 to 11 p.m. Wednesday in the hospital’s emergency department, following a 24-hour shift as a crew leader at the Cash Corner Fire Station that ended Wednesday morning, state police Sgt. Aaron Turcotte said.
It’s unclear whether Weymouth got any rest between jobs that day, Turcotte said, and investigators continue to analyze the two cars involved in the crash and await autopsy results. However, accident reconstruction experts have determined that Weymouth made no attempt to avoid the crash, which occurred around 12:50 a.m. Thursday near 517 Hollis Road.
“Based on every piece of evidence we’ve seen so far, we believe Mr. Weymouth fell asleep at the wheel and slowly drifted across the centerline into an oncoming vehicle,” Turcotte said Monday.
Weymouth, who lived in Buxton, was heading east on Route 202 near Hollis Center when the Chevrolet Cobalt he was driving collided with a Ford Fusion driven by Zahra Guedi, 45, of Portland.
Guedi and a passenger, Osman Duale Ali, were taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening, police said. A nursing supervisor at the hospital said both were in fair condition Thursday night, and they were not patients at the hospital on Monday.
Weymouth also was taken to Maine Medical Center, where he died of his injuries around 4 a.m. Neither speed or alcohol was considered a factor in the crash, Turcotte said. An autopsy, including toxicology tests, is being done to determine the cause of death.
SMHC officials have declined to comment beyond a written statement issued Thursday night.
“All of us at Southern Maine Health Care are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Harry Weymouth, who had a passion for caring for his community and dedicated his life to helping others,” SMHC CEO Nate Howell said. “Harry was a calming presence for patients in the emergency department during his 12 years as an RN at SMHC, and he forged strong connections with his colleagues. Our hearts go out to Harry’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with them. Due to privacy concerns, we cannot comment further on Harry’s accident.”
Weymouth had been a full-time firefighter in South Portland for 21 years and a volunteer firefighter in Buxton for 30 years, starting in 1986, when he was 15 years old. He also was a longtime medic with the Southern Maine Regional SWAT team.
Fire Chief James Wilson didn’t respond to a request for comment Monday evening. At a news conference last week, Wilson and Buxton Fire Chief Nathan Schools described Weymouth as a dedicated co-worker, quiet mentor, community leader and jack-of-all-trades.
Weymouth is survived by his wife, Kelly, and three children. A funeral will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Eastpoint Christian Church, 345 Clarks Pond Parkway, South Portland, followed by a reception at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Weymouth Children’s College Fund, set up by South Portland firefighters at Evergreen Credit Union, 799 Broadway, South Portland 04106.
In addition, his SMHC co-workers have set up a Weymouth Family Benefit fundraiser at gofundme.com, seeking donations and selling tickets to a spaghetti supper on Sept. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Saco Grange Hall, 168 North St.
The supper is a collaborative effort by his co-workers in the SMHC emergency department and the Biddeford, Saco and Old Orchard Beach fire departments.
“Harry was a beloved colleague who will be missed by many!” the gofundme page says.
©2018 the Portland Press Herald (Portland, Maine)