Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office photo

The driver of a vehicle who was allegedly involved in a hit and run crash in Naples on Sunday afternoon was found dead in his own car at a different crash scene, police said.

Capt. Kerry Joyce of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office in a release late Sunday evening identified the driver of a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta as 19-year-old Ethan Gardner of Otisfield.

Investigators said Gardner’s car struck the rear-end of a 2020 Chevrolet truck that was stopped at a traffic light near Route 302 and Route 35 in Naples around 1:30 p.m. Evert Kinser, 59, of Naples was the driver of the truck.

Gardner fled the crash scene, but witnesses gave officers a description of the Jetta and his direction of travel. Gardner was last seen traveling north on Route 35 towards Harrison. Police located Gardner’s vehicle a short distance north of the crash site on Route 35. It had crossed the roadway and hit a tree. Gardner, the sole occupant, died at the scene.

Route 35 had to be shut down for an extended period of time to allow investigators to reconstruct the crash. Joyce said the cause of the crash remains under investigation, but speed appears to have been a factor. Gardner’s driver’s license was under suspension, according to Joyce.

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