AUBURN —  Tara Chase was remembered Monday for her positive attitude and contagious smile.

The 20-year-old New Gloucester resident died in a car crash early Monday morning on Riverside Drive.

Her former teacher, Dan Caron of The Green Ladle Culinary Arts School at the Lewiston Regional Technical Center said she was task-oriented and volunteered for many events.

“Tara would take on any given task with a smile and positive attitude while always taking the time to encourage her peers do the same,” Caron said. “Her smile and delightful personality was so contagious that whoever was in her presence would begin to reflect the same lightheartedness.”

Chase was in his class her junior and senior years, and graduated from Lewiston High School in 2011.

“Tara continued to volunteer at The Green Ladle for the last two years,” Caron said, “helping with many a fundraiser.”

He said Chase worked many nights and weekends for the program and was a member of SKILLS USA, a partnership of students, teachers and industries dedicated to providing a skilled workforce.

Friend Jeffrey Taylor remembered Tara as “a wonderful girl who was taken from this Earth way too soon.”

Taylor said he used to play with Chase and her brother, Jordan, when they were very young.

“I attended middle school with Tara,” he said. “We became very close, eighth grade and into our freshman year of high school. She would always brighten my day with her radiant smile and contagious positive attitude.”

Taylor said the two lost touch when Chase switched schools. They saw each other just a few more times after that. “May she rest in peace with her brother, and thoughts be with their parents,” he said.

Chase’s brother, Jordan, a private in the Maine Army National Guard, died in 2011 during basic training in Fort Jackson, S.C., after a brief illness.

On Monday, Tara’s family was notified of her death in a two-car collision that occurred shortly before 6 a.m. near 1580 Riverside Drive.

A Saturn, driven by Chase, and a Chevrolet Impala, driven by 60-year-old Leo LeClair of Auburn, collided, trapping the drivers and LeClair’s three passengers in the vehicles.

Leclair and his passengers were taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston where they were listed in good condition Monday, police said.

Speed and weather conditions may have been contributing factors in the crash, police said.

Auburn police closed a section of the highway for about four hours after the crash. They were assisted in their investigation by a Maine State Police accident reconstruction expert.


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