CLINTON — Three Clinton youths were killed and two seriously injured Sunday morning when the car in which they were traveling, driven by an unlicensed 16-year-old boy, slammed into a tree on Hinckley Road in Clinton, according to police.

Those who died in the 7:16 a.m. crash were Thomas Porfirio, 15, Emily Baker, 14, and Baker’s sister, Ashlin Baker, 12, all of whom were dead inside the car when rescue workers arrived at the crash site, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, and Clinton police.

The injured are the 16-year-old boy who was reportedly driving the vehicle, whom police were not identifying Sunday afternoon, and Nevaeh Wilson, 12, of Clinton.

The driver’s name “is being withhold as investigators and district attorney’s office continue to review the crash investigation,” according to a statement that police issued at 3:14 p.m. Sunday.

The statement said the accident’s causes are likely to be driver inexperience and speed.

Three Clinton youths were killed and two seriously injured Sunday morning when the 2007 Toyota Corolla in which they were traveling crashed into a pine tree on Hinckley Road in Clinton. Morning Sentinel photo by Amy Calder

Wilson and the driver were being treated Sunday at Maine Medical Center in Portland for injuries not believed to be life-threatening, according to police.

“Troopers said the car struck an icy patch on the road, went into an uncontrolled skid and struck the large tree on the passengers side of the 2007 Toyota Corolla,” police said in the statement.

The crash was reported by another driver. Several state troopers and accident reconstructionists rushed to the scene and were working with Clinton police, according to officials.

At the scene on Hinckley Road, 6 miles from Route 23 and 2 miles from downtown Clinton, the small Toyota was a mangled mass of metal on the north side of the road, where it had hit a large pine tree.

Strewn around it were car parts, disposable coffee cups, soda bottles and fast food containers.

State and Clinton police, as well as firefighters from Clinton, Fairfield and Burnham, were working at the scene, where they had blocked the road on each end. The bodies were removed from the scene at about 11:30 a.m.

At about 10:30 a.m., Clinton police Chief Rusty Bell confirmed the five youths were from Clinton and all of their parents had been notified, although one parent asked for more time before releasing names because a grandmother and aunt close to a victim had not been told of the deaths.

The crash occurred near 272 Hinckley Road, near the Ironworkers Local No. 496 building at 277 Hinckley Road. The speed limit is 45 mph on that straight stretch of road, which has a slight incline and appeared mostly clear of snow and ice Sunday.

It was sunny and cold Sunday — about 14 degrees — and bystanders said temperatures had dipped below zero during the night and early morning.

Clinton firefighters and rescue workers responded to the call and notified Bell. He said Clinton police are the primary investigators and received assistance from State Police, who also were reconstructing the accident.

Bell said Jeremy Day, the school resource officer at Lawrence High School, had been at the scene earlier Sunday.

“He was here and they’re going to have an administrative meeting,” Bell said. “All the children were Lawrence students, according to (Day). Administrators have to be ready for tomorrow.”

Many people watched from a distance Sunday as emergency workers worked at the scene, including as the mangled car was loaded onto a flatbed truck and taken away.

Workers moved the 2007 Toyota Corolla onto the tow truck bed after single car crash in Clinton that killed three, injured two around 7am this morning. Morning Sentinel photo by Amy Calder

Dan Bickford, who lives up the road from the accident scene, said he heard about the crash and stopped to see what was happening.

“They had their whole life ahead of them,” Bickford said of the youths. “There was nothing left of that car.”

A couple on whose property the crash occurred said they were awakened by the sound of the crash. The man, who asked that he and his wife not be identified, said he dressed and went outside, where he saw the car had struck a pine tree he had planted 43 years ago.

“There have been accidents here,” he said, “but nothing like that.” 

Maine School Administrative District 49 Superintendent Roberta Hersom has identified the victims in the fatal Clinton car crash as being students at Lawrence High School and Lawrence Junior High School.

In a Sunday evening post on the district’s Facebook page, Hersom said, “Our community is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our students, sisters Ashlin and Emily Baker, and Thomas Porfirio. Our hearts break for their families at this most unimaginably painful and difficult time, and through the grief they will face for their much beloved children.”

Hersom said the district has assembled a crisis response team that will offer support to students at both the high school and the junior high school. Counselors will be available throughout the day on Monday. Hersom said that elementary school principals are also prepared to lend a helping hand as the school community grieves for the crash victims.

“Students, staff, parents, friends and community members of this district will continue to support one another, and seek assistance from the schools as much as is needed. I am certain that all those associated with this very special community will serve with heartfelt concern and caring,” Hersom wrote in her post.

MSAD 49 includes the towns of Albion, Benton, Clinton and Fairfield.

Portland Press Herald Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.


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