SOUTHWEST HARBOR — A young mother riding in the back seat with her five-month-old son died Saturday afternoon when the car driven by her husband left Route 102 near the St. Sauveur Mountain parking lot and rolled over.
Arthi Nandhakumar, 24, of Lowell, Mass., was pronounced dead at the scene. She was not wearing a seatbelt and was partially ejected through the sunroof of the 2013 BMW X3 driven by her 31-year-old husband, Pradeep Mohanraj, said interim Police Chief Mike Miller.
Mohanraj was wearing a seatbelt, and the couple’s child was safely strapped in a car seat. Both were taken by ambulance to Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor, where they were treated for minor injuries and released, Miller said.
Mohanraj told police that he lost control of the BMW while swerving to avoid a small animal, possibly a rabbit, on the road. The vehicle veered off onto the right shoulder and rolled over, coming to rest on the roof.
Miller said there were no tire marks at the scene to indicate that Mohanraj braked suddenly or that the vehicle went into a skid. Deputy Jeff McFarland of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department is conducting an accident reconstruction in order to learn more about what might have caused the fatal crash.
The accident occurred shortly before 3 p.m., tying up traffic on the busy stretch of road for about three hours.
Firefighters from Southwest Harbor, Tremont and Mount Desert, members of the Mount Desert Police Department and Acadia National Park rangers assisted at the scene.