PORTLAND — Poland Regional High School Athletic Director Don King was recovering Thursday after a Wednesday afternoon crash on Route 202 in Winthrop that took the life of his 24-year-old son, Connor.

King early Thursday was moved from MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta to Maine Medical Center in Portland. A nursing supervisor at the Portland hospital said King was in stable or satisfactory condition. He was said to be conscious and alert.

Alfred Parks, the the 65-year-old driver of a wrecker involved in the collision, was treated at MaineGeneral on Wednesday and later released, hospital officials said.

Around the region, friends and colleagues mourned the loss of Connor as they awaited word on Don King’s condition.

“Growing up in Poland myself, I met Connor first way back in little league when we played Mechanic Falls,” said Devin Goyette, now living in New Gloucester. “He pitched then and we all knew he threw gas. Finally as high school came around we became teammates in baseball and football.

“He was one of the hardest workers on either team. From what I can recall, he was working out before school always getting swings in year-round, I can’t say I know anyone else who put as much time and effort into what he loved and that was baseball.”

For a season in 2016, Connor King coached high school softball in Poland. Those who knew him say it was a perfect match – Connor was a young man who knew the game and he was always happy to help others.

“He was always helping at practice and in game, he would help with your swing and be the first to toss some soft toss for you,” Goyette said. “I remember when I broke my hand and he tossed some for me to get some swings in even though coach didn’t approve. Beyond the field, I can’t say I ever heard anyone say anything bad about Connor. He was a really nice guy. I feel terrible for Don and the family.”

Connor ultimately went on to attend Saint Joseph’s College of Maine in Standish. Don King and his wife live in Mechanic Falls.

Dave Jordan, Edward Little High School’s baseball coach, has worked with and under Don King for years.

“He’s a wonderful man who always puts the community first in terms of kids and opportunities and things like that,” Jordan said. “He’s a very, very classy guy.”

Connor King was a freshman baseball player the last year Jordan coached at the Poland school. Jordan described the younger King as a player who was liked by both teammates and coaches.

“He was a great teammate,” Jordan said. “He was always a ‘yes, coach’ kind of player who would do exactly what you asked him to do. He worked hard. He just loved baseball. It was just something he always wanted to do.”

By late Thursday afternoon, most of Don King’s colleagues, former colleagues and friends had learned of his condition.

“My heart aches for this family,” said Jeff Ramich, who as a coach, teacher and athletic director in Lisbon worked directly with Don King. “I can’t say enough positive about Don – great dad and husband, great (athletic director), great role model for everyone, great friend, just a real class act.

“Don is one of those guys you look at and say, ‘I want to be more like him.'”

Police said Don King was driving westbound on Route 202 when his truck slipped out of control and skidded into the oncoming lane. It then collided with an eastbound 2011 Dodge flatbed wrecker driven by Parks of Readfield. The crash remained under investigation Thursday.

On Thursday, moments of silence were planned in honor of the King family at a number of sporting events across the region.

“I hold him in very high regard as a friend,” said Jordan, of Don King. “Right now, it’s time for our community to rally in support that family.”

Poland Regional High School Athletic Director Don King (Submitted photo)


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