Falmouth couple killed in turnpike wreck linked to police chase

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 11:05 AM EST
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YORK, Maine (WMTW) - A Falmouth couple died Tuesday afternoon when their vehicle was hit from behind by a tractor-trailer on the Maine Turnpike and pushed into the back of another rig that had slowed in traffic.

State police said they found the bodies of Geoffrey Gattis and Elizabeth Gattis, both 68, inside the wreckage of a Lexus.

The Gattis’ vehicle was crushed, state police said.

The deadly crash happened about an hour after a police chase on the southside of the turnpike had ended with a crash.

The investigation of the chase had caused traffic in the northbound lane to slow, state police said.

Police said a tractor-trailer loaded with large paper rolls was heading north and the Gattis’ were traveling behind the rig. Both the tractor-trailer and the Gattis’ had slowed in traffic, officials said, when an unloaded tractor-trailer failed to notice the slowdown. The second tractor-trailer hit the Gattis’ vehicle, pushing it into the first tractor-trailer.

State police said speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the crash. Once the investigation is completed, the information will be reviewed by the York County District Attorney’s Office, officials said.

The collision occurred roughly an hour after a separate crash of the south side of I-95 which ended a police chase near York’s border with Kittery.

Maine State Police say the chase involved state troopers along with officers from Kittery and York who were pursuing an erratic vehicle on I-95.

Investigators say the suspect crashed their car in the median of the turnpike, causing major traffic delays in both directions.

State police say three officers received minor injuries, two as a result of the chase and another while taking the suspect into custody.

The suspect, whose name has not been released, was taken to a hospital for minor injuries and is expected to be charged.

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