ELLSWORTH — A state of Maine crash report said the roadway was dry and weather conditions clear when a pickup truck struck the late Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputy Luke Gross, who had been clad in a “high-visibility reflective vest,” at 5:15 a.m. on Sept. 23 on Route 3 in Trenton.
“At the time of the crash, Deputy Gross was wearing a high visibility reflective vest and walking with traffic, appearing to reach down to pick up a piece of vehicle debris to remove from the roadway, when Unit 1 struck him from behind as Deputy Gross bent down,” stated Maine State Police Sgt. Aaron M. Turcotte.
The report states that Gross had been “in the roadway improperly” when the collision occurred.
Timothy J. Badger, 55, of Levant, was driving the truck, a 2017 Nissan, that struck Gross, according to the report. Troopers said Badger has been cooperative and they do not anticipate criminal charges.
The 18-year-veteran of the Sheriff’s Office sustained “significant head trauma and died from injuries suffered in the crash,” Turcotte stated in a narrative on the report.
Hancock County Sheriff Scott Kane said Gross had been sent to the scene around 4 a.m. for a report of a crashed vehicle. The operator fled, in his car, before the deputy arrived, police said. Gross had parked his cruiser in the westbound breakdown lane with his emergency lights activated to investigate the crash.
A few hours after the crash, troopers located the driver of the crashed vehicle who had fled the scene that Gross was initially investigating. The driver was located a short distance away in his vehicle sleeping, reported Maine Public Safety Spokesman Shannon Moss.
Thorin Smith, 20, of Bar Harbor, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, illegal use of drug paraphernalia and illegal possession of alcohol by a minor, Moss said.
Gross, 44, is survived by his wife of 15 years, Lauren, and their two children, Ryan and Alyssa.