JAY — A Weld man was remembered Monday as someone who stepped in to help wherever he could.

William “Bill” Espeaignette, 75, died early Sunday after he called 911 to alert Franklin County dispatchers that he had been in an accident, Jay police Sgt. Troy Young said.

Espeaignette told dispatchers before collapsing that his pickup truck was off the road, over an embankment and on its side off Route 17 in North Jay, police said.

Espeaignette collapsed while talking to dispatchers on the phone, Young said in a statement. When officers Michael Mejia and Mark Lemos arrived they found Espeaignette unresponsive on the side of the road next to his cell phone, he said.

Officers started cardiopulmonary resuscitation until NorthStar Emergency Medical Services personnel could arrive, he said.

Espeaignette was pronounced dead at the scene, Young said.


The cause of death remains under investigation, he said.

“Speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the crash,” Young said.

Espeaignette’s truck was located about 150 feet off the road at the bottom of an embankment, he said.

“Bill was just an all around awesome guy,” Linda Lee, a close companion, said Monday. “He was well liked. He was an all around handy man since he moved into town. He helped everybody.”

Espeaignette previously lived in Wilton and moved to Weld about 3 1/2 years ago, she said.

He was a member of the Maine Antique Tractor Association. He dragged the arena where they pulled the tractors, Lee said.


Espeaignette was at the Oxford Fair on Saturday and stopped to visit friends in South Paris before returning home, Lee said. He left their house at about 12:45 a.m. Sunday, she said.

Police believe the accident happened about 2 a.m.

Espeaignette was a member of the Rumford-Mexico Horseshoe Club.

He had only one hand after losing the other in an industrial accident but it didn’t slow him down, Lee said.

“He adapted and kept going,” she said.

Besides Lee and family, he leaves behind his dog, Rizza, a 6 1/2-year-old border collie.


“A lot of people knew him very well. He touched a lot of hearts,” Lee said.

Espeaignette volunteered during Mt. Blue State Park’s last two “Take It Outside” winter programs, park Manager Bruce Farnham said.

“He helped out wherever he could,” he said. “He was always willing to lend a hand. He was a likable guy, very friendly. For those of us who knew him, we will miss him around town.”

Police estimated $5,000 damage to Espeaignette‘s truck, which was found about 150 feet off the road at the bottom of an embankment..

Assisting Jay police were officers and deputies Wilton Police Department and Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.

Jay firefighters also responded and assisted with closing the road, also known as East Dixfield Road, for about four hours.

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