Island Falls crash claims Houlton woman

8 years ago
ISLAND FALLS, Maine — A Houlton woman was killed Tuesday evening when the car she was riding in overturned on Interstate 95 in Island Falls as the area was being hit with freezing rain.

Janet Drake, 71, of Houlton was a passenger in a 1998 Toyota 4Runner driven by her husband, George, who lost control of the vehicle, which spun off the slick road and into the ditch. The sport utility vehicle landed on its roof, striking several trees.

Janet Drake, who was not wearing her seat belt and was ejected from the sport utility vehicle, died instantly, according to Stephen McCausland, Maine public safety spokesman.

Maine State Police were called to the northbound lane of I-95 around 6:20 p.m. for a report of a single-vehicle crash. Trooper Tim Saucier said George Drake was driving too fast for road conditions.

George Drake and another passenger, Clyde Geary, 33, of Houlton, were taken by Island Falls and Patten Ambulance Services to Houlton Regional Hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, according to police. George Drake was later transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center with a head injury. An update on his condition was not available by presstime.

The vehicle was demolished.

Also in the vehicle were two dogs – one owned by the Drakes and another by family friend. One animal was recovered at the scene by an animal control officer, but the second ran off. That dog, a purebred Hungarian Vizsla, was located a couple of days later.

No court action is pending in the crash. Trooper Gavin Endre assisted with the investigation.

The same family also suffered a tragedy in December three years ago when their Abbie Lane home was destroyed by fire. No one was home at the time, but the Drakes, Geary and three other family members were left homeless. Several animals perished in the fire, including two parrots, two doves, two cockatiels, a lizard, two goats, a cat and numerous pheasants and turkeys in the barn.

The family since has rebuilt on the same property in Houlton.

Bangor Daily News writer Jen Lynds contributed to this report.