PORT CLYDE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The District Attorney in Knox County says the New York woman whose car struck and killed a nine year old boy on the wharf in Port Clyde last summer did not commit a crime.
DA Geoff Rushlau says the investigation showed that Cheryl Torgerson's car had been stopped on the slope above the Monhegan Boat Lines dock just before the accident happened. There had been reports and rumors the car was speeding as it came into the village, but DA Geoff Rushlau says those reports don't matter because they aren't relevant to the accident.
Rushlau says the police investigation used data from an airbag monitor device to show the car was stopped with the brakes on, but that the accelerator was also partly depressed. For an unknown reason, the brakes let off and the car started moving. It hit an SUV, then sped up and crashed into the Boat Lines building and struck Jonathan Coggeshall. The car's air bag went off and the car then accelerated down the dock, hitting a string of parked cars and then striking members of the Gold family. Nine year old Dylan Gold was killed, his mother critically injured.
Torgerson has told investigators she doesn't know what happened, but that the car sped up on its own. DA Rushlau says investigators found no evidence of a defect, and no proof the car accelerated by itself. Absent any proof of a problem and without any evidence of criminal conduct, he said they would not prosecute Torgerson.
Asked what he thinks happened, Rushlau said he wouldn't speculate but added, "...in past years there have been lots of reports of uncontrolled acceleration that were found ultimately to be driver error, in other words the person is convinced they had their foot on the brake actually had their foot on the throttle. And look at this evidence and maybe that's what happened. But it would be a maybe. Can't prove it, can't disprove it."
Rushlau added the outcome of the case is "frustrating" because of so much harm to the Gold family and to Coggeshall.