SKOWHEGAN — A pregnant woman on her way to a local hospital to be medically induced to give birth was killed Monday morning when her vehicle slid on black ice and crashed off U.S. Route 2 in Skowhegan, police said.
Desiree Strout, 27, was nine months pregnant when she was killed, police said.
Skowhegan Police Chief David Bucknam said the baby was delivered by emergency Caesarean section at Redington-Fairview General Hospital following the crash. Bucknam said the baby was in critical condition about noon Monday and was later transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where hospital officials would not provide any information about the baby.
Harry Weeks, 29, a passenger who was possibly Strout’s husband, suffered a punctured lung and laceration to his liver, according to Bucknam.
Franny MacMichael Clark of Skowhegan, a friend of Strout’s, expressed shock and sadness at the passing of the young mother of two girls.
“The times that I was around her, she was a very loving mother,” Clark said. “Her oldest daughter, Delanie, is such a smart little cookie and I know Desiree home-schooled her kids, so you could tell, it was evident, that she spent a lot of time with them and teaching them. She was a sweetheart — her parents are my neighbors.”
Strout’s mother, Andrea Knowles, did not immediately return a social media message on Monday. Clark said Strout’s two daughters are about 8 and 5 years old.
She said she thought that the baby to be delivered Monday morning was a boy.
Bucknam said Strout was driving a 2005 Chevy Trailblazer when the vehicle hit black ice just before 7 a.m. on a stretch of road also known as Canaan Road, east of downtown Skowhegan. He said she lost control of the vehicle near the intersection of East Ridge Road, Eaton Mountain Road and Route 2. The vehicle hit a snowbank sideways at the edge of the road and rolled over, landing on the driver’s side on a frozen pond.
“It was not speed,” Bucknam said at his office. “She just hit the black ice and lost control.”
Bucknam did not return a request for comment late Monday about why Strout was driving the vehicle instead of Weeks.
Strout had been traveling from Canaan to the hospital, where she was to be medically induced to have the baby. An 8-year-old girl also was in the vehicle. Bucknam said the girl did not have life-threatening injuries.
No other vehicles were involved.
Maine State Police assisted Skowhegan police at the scene, as did units from the Skowhegan Fire Department and ambulances from EMS at Redington-Fairview General Hospital.
A burned, overturned truck lies on the ice of a small pond along Route 2 in Skowhegan early Monday. A pregnant woman died in the accident. (David Leaming/Morning Sentinel)