Witness helps catch hit-and-run suspect

TREMONT — A witness to a hit-and-run accident Saturday that seriously injured a man walking two dogs on the Tremont Road was able to provide information that helped sheriff’s deputies locate the alleged driver and take him into custody.

The suspect, Scott Merchant, 51, of Tremont was found about an hour after the accident on the Cape Road by Lt. Chris Thornton and Deputy Jacob Day of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office. Merchant’s gray 2003 Dodge pickup was parked at what locally is known as the Algerine Coast. Merchant was outside the vehicle and taken into custody without incident, Thornton said.

Merchant was arrested on charges of operating while under the influence and aggravated leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. Merchant also was charged with possession of a useable amount of marijuana.

Police have not identified the victim, but according to a Go Fund Me site asking for donations to treat his injuries, the 29-year-old man is Timm Donahue, who has been living in Tremont.

According to the sheriff’s department, the victim was walking a dog along the Tremont Road near the intersection with the Kelleytown and Clark Point roads shortly before 7 p.m. when he was struck by a vehicle. He sustained severe injuries to his lower extremities and was taken by LifeFlight helicopter ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor for treatment.

The driver of another vehicle saw the accident, stopped and called 911. That person was able to provide deputies with a “vague description” of the pickup truck, Thornton said. There was physical evidence as well.

“We collected evidence at the scene left by virtue of the impact,” Thornton said.

Merchant was taken into custody after a brief interview and after deputies observed damage to his truck consistent with the accident, Thornton said. The Tremont man then was taken to Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth, where a blood sample was taken, as is required in a serious motor vehicle accident. He then was taken to the Hancock County Jail, where he was evaluated for being under the influence of drugs, Thornton said.

The incident is to be reviewed by the Hancock County District Attorney’s Office. Merchant could face additional charges, Thornton said.

According to members of the fire department, one of the dogs was injured but did not require treatment by a veterinarian.

The incident prompted a multi-agency response. Along with the Tremont Fire Department and the Southwest Harbor-Tremont Ambulance Service, law enforcement officers from Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert, Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park and Maine State Police assisted the sheriff’s department.

“When a situation like that arises, you basically push the all-hands-on-deck button,” Thornton said.

Updated on Sept. 21 at 10:24 a.m.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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