AUBURN — Co-workers and friends said Wednesday they worried every time Gary Michaud took his motorcycle out on Route 4.
It wasn’t Michaud’s skills that concerned them, Carl Olsen said.
“We read him the riot act all the time because Route 4 is so dangerous,” said Olsen, manager of the NAPA Auto Parts Store at 325 Center St. in Auburn. “None of us were happy about him having that bike on Route 4. And that’s what ended up getting him — that stupid road we’ve always been afraid of.”
Michaud, 41, of Turner was killed Tuesday afternoon as he attempted to cross Route 4 in Turner to Weston Road on his way to a doctor’s appointment.
According to the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department, Michaud was coming out of Turner Plaza and was waiting for vehicles to pass from the left. The first vehicle turned right, but police suspect Michaud didn’t see the second vehicle. He proceeded and was struck broadside.
He was taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston where he was pronounced dead at about 8:30 p.m.
Michaud was from Augusta. He had a wife and two sons. His family could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Olsen said Michaud had worked at the Auburn NAPA store for 15 years. His spot was the front corner of the counter.
“His was the first guy people saw when they walked in,” Olsen said. “He always had a smile on his face. Even if life treated him badly, he never let it show.”
Co-worker Peter Driscoll, 29, said Michaud helped get Driscoll on the road 13 years ago, when Driscoll first got his license.
“There really wasn’t anything he didn’t know about cars,” Olsen said. “He was the go-to guy. People would say, ‘I need the thingamajig behind the thingamajig.’ And he’d say, ‘Yeah, yeah, it’s this thing.'”
Co-worker Scott Lessard said Michaud had his own following among the customers.
“There were customers who would wait in line for Gary, even if there were nine of us open,” Lessard said. “He would go out and put a U-joint in for somebody. He was a mechanic.”
Olsen said Michaud had bought the used 1999 Harley-Davidson XL 120 this past summer, and he loved it in spite of the problems he’d had on Route 4. He’d had trouble two times at the same intersection, once when he had a flat tire and again when the motorcycle spun out on sand.
“He’d always ridden motorcycles, but this was his first Harley,” Olsen said. “He was very excited about it. He loved that motorcycle.”
Police said Michaud was not wearing a helmet at the time. Olsen said Michaud normally wore a helmet.
“But I don’t think it would have made any difference this time,” Olsen said. “It was Route 4. It’s just terrible.”