HANOVER — A cyclist killed during the Trek Across Maine on Friday morning likely lost his balance while riding with one hand on the handlebars as he sipped from his water bottle, investigators with the Maine State Police said.

State police Lt. Walter Grzyb said Monday that there is little likelihood of charges arising from the death of 23-year-old David LeClair of Watertown, Mass., in the town of Hanover.

Grzyb said investigators confirmed that the tractor-trailer was driven by Michael Masse-Defresne, 24, of Quebec. Investigators said they received confirmation from two video recordings — one from a Rumford business and the other from a Rumford police cruiser, which was a first responder to the accident.

Masse-Defresne told police he didn’t realize his vehicle came into contact with anyone. During Friday’s investigation, Grzyb said that Masse-Defresne was “very cooperative” and that everything seemed to be in order in regard to his truck.

Grzyb later said that the tractor-trailer driven by Masse-Defresne was the same tractor-trailer investigated Friday afternoon in the Rumford Marden’s parking lot. Trooper Jeff DeGroot of the Maine State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division inspected the truck Friday, where he weighed and inspected the tractor-trailer, while state police detectives lifted evidence from the outer rear tire with duct tape.

The truck, a 22-wheeler hauling corn feed from Colebrook, N.H., to Augusta, is owned by Transport Serge Beauregard of St. Jacques Le Mineur, Quebec, Canada.

According to Grzyb, as of Monday afternoon, police still do not know how fast the tractor-trailer was traveling when it struck LeClair.

“I believe the speed limit switches from 55 to 40 miles per hour during that stretch,” Grzyb said. “We’re still not sure what Defresne’s speed was. That will require more investigation.”

The fatal bicycle crash occurred around 8:45 a.m. on Route 2, about 10 miles from the starting point of the Trek Across Maine event. Grzyb said that LeClair was wearing a helmet during the collision.

One aspect of the crash that state police remain unclear on, Grzyb said, was whether or not a draft or suction pulled LeClair toward the wheels of the truck.

“We know that LeClair was riding with one hand for a short period while drinking from his water bottle,” Grzyb said. “It may have been a combination of driving with one hand and a draft from the truck that caused him to fall, but there’s no way of knowing that. Witnesses said they felt a draft when the truck went by, and it seems plausible, but we just can’t know for sure.”

Grzyb reported that somewhere between 3 1/2 and 4 feet separated Defresne’s truck from LeClair, which was “within the limits of the law.”

“The law requires vehicles to give at least 3 feet when passing bicyclists,” Grzyb said.

A medical examiner said LeClair died from “blunt force trauma to the head” and that there was evidence his left arm also was struck. His bicycle was not damaged in Friday’s crash.

Though no charges have been filed, Grzyb said that the final crash report will be reviewed by the District Attorney’s Office once it is completed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: