Sun Journal delivery driver dies in Salem Township crash

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SALEM TOWNSHIP — Police say high speed may have been a factor in an accident that took the life of a Farmington man Wednesday.

Thomas Poulin, 48, was deceased when first responders arrived at the scene of the 6:30 a.m. crash, Maine State Trooper Reid Bond said.

Poulin’s 2005 Subaru Outback was traveling toward Kingfield on Route 142 when he lost control on a curve and the car struck a tree, Bond said. 

Police ruled out other reasons, including a deer or moose crossing the road. It occurred in a rural area near 2334 Salem Road, Bond said. 

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Poulin, an independent contractor who delivered newspapers for the Sun Journal and Morning Sentinel, was headed for the Salem General Store when he lost control of the vehicle.

He was nearing the end of his daily route. He delivered home newspapers and bundles to businesses in Temple, northern Farmington, Strong and Phillips, said Michael Theriault, circulation director for the Sun Journal.

Poulin drove more than 175 miles per day, seven days a week, to deliver Sun Journals to well over 200 customers, Theriault said. He also delivered bundles to stores and papers to Morning Sentinel customers.

“His commitment and dedication to his customers, seven days a week is more than most realize,” Theriault said. “That is 364 days a year with only Christmas off. He took customer service to a different level than most. He was very conscientious of service and was self-driven to accomplish high standards.”

Poulin started working as an independent carrier for the Sun Journal in 1997 and continued until 1999, he said. He joined the Sun Journal as a district sales manager in 1999. He recruited newspaper deliverers and managed routes in the Farmington area before moving on to work in Lewiston.

He left that position to take a similar job with the Bangor Daily News. After leaving the Bangor paper, he worked as a manager of McDonald’s in Farmington, Theriault said.

Poulin came back in 2009 to once again deliver newspapers, Theriault said. Earlier this year, Poulin expanded his deliveries by taking on the Temple and northern part of Farmington, in addition to Strong and Phillips.

“He was energetic and dedicated,” Theriault said. “He liked to talk and was known for being social and outgoing.”

Theriault recalled an incident this year in which Poulin revealed his dedication. He had injured his hand installing a newspaper tube. The wound became infected and he had to be hospitalized. He told Theriault that he disobeyed doctor’s orders and checked himself out of the hospital in the middle of the night to deliver his route.

Carriers are responsible for finding coverage when they can’t do their routes. When Poulin went to visit his mother in Florida, he would check in to see whether there were any service problems on his route. He was extremely service-oriented, Theriault said.

“We wish the best for his family,” Theriault said. “We’re all saddened by the news of his passing.”

abryant@sunjournal.com

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