BAR HARBOR — Family and friends are mourning the loss of a Bar Harbor man who is believed to have died in a single-vehicle accident early Sunday morning. A Ford pickup left the roadway of the Gilbert Farm Road around 1:45 a.m., struck a group of trees and caught fire, according to reports.
Officials have yet to make a positive, formal identification. But family members and friends of the truck’s owner are coming to grips with the shock that there is little likelihood it wasn’t him.
Derek Pelletier, 26, of Trenton was close to his family and large group of cousins, loved music and video games, and had an infectious giggle.
“He was a gentle soul,” his mother Wendy Pelletier said. “He had this bright smile that could brighten anyone’s day.”
He lived in Town Hill and worked at Little Anthony’s restaurant as a cook and delivery driver. He started working in restaurants summers when he was 14 years old, Wendy said.
“My husband, Craig, and I both come from big extended families,” she said, “so Derek had many, many cousins. His special cousin Raife Rochon, they were just best buddies. Raife told me his favorite memory is of playing with Star Wars action figures. Derek always let Raife be Han Solo and Luke Skywalker.”
As a kid, Derek liked to play pranks on his friends. A friend’s mother remembered a time when he took the bedposts off her bed and hid them around the house. “He’d sit there with a grin on his face waiting for her to discover they were gone,” Wendy said.
Derek also loved playing video games.
“I always said he was a gamer at heart,” she said. “He loved the challenge of trying to be the game. When he was younger, he and Raife would play the Mario Party games, and his sister Amber and I would join them. We were all pretty competitive!”
As Derek grew up, he mastered different games, such as “Grand Theft Auto” and “Call of Duty,” she said.
Derek was a musician and started playing the drums when he was young. His parents bought him a guitar for Christmas one year when he reached high school, Wendy said. He taught himself to play.
“He liked all genres of music,” she said.
Sal Clouse, Derek’s boss at Little Anthony’s, appreciated his cheerfulness and work ethic. “I think he might have called in sick once in three years,” he said. “And he was always pleasant,” which he said is a break from the stereotype of the grumpy, grumbling line cook.
The family has scheduled a celebration of Derek’s life for Saturday, March 26, at 2 p.m., at the Ellsworth Elks Lodge.