Speed primary factor in accident that killed Connecticut girl

FARMINGTON — Speed is the primary cause of a highway collision that killed a 12-year-old Connecticut girl last month, Farmington police officer Wayne Drake said Monday.

Submitted Photo

Tess Meisel, 12, of Connecticut died in an accident on Aug. 17 in Farmington, after a tractor-trailer was going too fast to negotiate a turn hit the minivan she was riding in, police said.

Sun Journal file photo

Police say a tractor-trailer involved in a crash that claimed the life of 12-year-old Tess Meisel of Westport, Conn., on Aug. 17 in Farmington was going too fast to safely negotiate a corner before it hit the back of the van Meisel was in and then rolled over. The truck was driven by Charles Willey of Dexter and owned by Linkletter Trucking of Athens.

Accident reconstructionist Aaron Turcotte of the state police determined that the tractor-trailer truck driven by Charles Willey, 53, of Dexter, was going too fast to negotiate the right turn from routes 2 and 4 onto routes 2 and 27, Drake said.

The rig, loaded with sawdust, hit the driver's side rear of a Camp Jewell YMCA minivan, which was stopped in traffic on routes 2 and 27, and rolled over. Tess Meisel of Westport, Conn., who was in the minivan died at the scene of the Aug. 17 collision.

Turcotte's calculations indicate the tractor-trailer was going at least 41.44 mph when it entered the intersection in a 30-mph zone, Drake said. That's the minimum speed necessary for that truck to roll over, he said.

The truck is owned by Linkletter Trucking of Athens.

The van was owned by Camp Jewell YMCA in Colebrook, Conn., and headed from Acadia National Park to a park in Vermont.

Campers Samantha Hollander, 15, and Samantha Gaivao,13, both of Connecticut, were treated and released from hospitals the same day. Willey was also injured and treated and released from a hospital.

Three people, including the driver of the van, Charles Powell, 23, of Colebrook, Conn., and two other passengers, were not injured.

Drake said he still has a couple of eyewitness statements to get. Once his accident report is reviewed by a supervisor and approved, it will be submitted to the District Attorney's Office to determine if any charges will be filed against Willey.

There was no alcohol and no distractions involved, Drake said.


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Marjorie Grover's picture


Mr.Willey needs to be held accountable for not abiding by the posted speed limit. It is sad that a young girls life was lost because he was speeding. Yes he must live with this for the rest of his life but he must be held accountable for it. He should lose his CDL license and pay a hefty fine and be made to do community service by speaking to other truckers and in schools about speeding when driving a tractor trailer or any motor vechile and abiding by the speeding laws. Be held accountable for his actions


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