A 17-year-old died in a single-vehicle crash on River Road in Edgecomb on the evening of Sunday, Oct. 10.
According to a news release from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Paris Pierpont, of Jefferson, died at the scene from injuries sustained in the crash. She was the only occupant of the vehicle.
Paris Pierpont was the daughter of Edwin and Bobbie Pierpont. Edwin recently set the Maine state record for heaviest giant pumpkin at the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest weigh-off on Oct. 3.
On Monday, Oct. 11, a memorial with flowers and chalk was set up by Paris’ friend, Vlade Sherrill, 20, of Nobleboro, in front of the area where the prize-winning pumpkin is displayed on Theater Street in downtown Damariscotta.
“When I heard about it, I couldn’t really think of a better spot,” Sherrill said.
Sherrill invited people to stop by the memorial to pay tribute by leaving flowers, writing a message or a heart on the street with chalk, or lighting a candle.
Damariscotta Town Manager Matt Lutkus said the road will remain closed for the memorial until the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 13.
Mourners held vigil late into the night on both Monday and Tuesday.
Sherrill knew Paris Pierpont when they both attended Lincoln Academy. He said he last saw her at LA’s homecoming this year. She was a student at Medomak Valley High School prior to her death, Sherrill said.
He remembers her energy and her intensity on the basketball court. He said they used to play basketball together at the Central Lincoln County YMCA in Damariscotta.
“She’s always full of energy, so positive,” Sherrill said.
Paris’ mother, Bobbie Pierpont, said by phone on Tuesday, Oct. 12, that Paris was a “helper,” was always positive, and a tenacious player on the basketball court.
“She was huge into helping people. She’d give people the last $20 in her pocket to help a friend out. She thought the best of everyone, she never thought anybody would take advantage of her,” Bobbie said.
Bobbie said that Paris transferred from Lincoln Academy to Medomak Valley High School in her junior year to pursue an emergency medical technician certification program at Mid-Coast School of Technology in Rockland and eventually become a nurse.
Bobbie said that after Paris had surgery on her ankle, which she sprained several times playing basketball, the positive experience in the hospital gave her a long-term goal of becoming a nurse.
“She wanted to be a nurse and then move on to be an OR nurse, so she could do what those people did for her, which was make a bad situation good and make her feel good about it,” Bobbie said.
Paris’ best friend since kindergarten, Allison Bennett, of Jefferson, said on Tuesday that her friend wouldn’t have wanted her to be sad. She said Paris would have wanted everyone at the memorial to be laughing and joking, because that’s the type of positive person she was.
“She would make everyone laugh no matter how they were feeling. So I feel like all of us sitting here and writing things, she’d probably be telling us we shouldn’t do that. We should be making jokes or something,” Bennett said.
Bennett said that Paris got her involved in playing basketball and riding dirt bikes when she was in fifth or sixth grade.
Bennett told a story about the first time she rode a dirt bike with Paris and she instantly hit a tree and fell off the bike, laughing hysterically along with Paris.
“I got back on after like five minutes of laughing, and then I ended up getting my own dirt bike like two years later,” Bennett said.
The initial investigation of the crash indicates that Pierpont was driving a 1998 Volkswagen Beetle north on River Road when the vehicle crossed into the southbound lane, left the roadway, and struck a utility pole and tree, according to the news release.
The airbags in the vehicle deployed, but Pierpont was not wearing a seatbelt.
The Lincoln County Communications Center received a report of a motor-vehicle crash at 10:19 p.m. on Sunday. The LCSO, Edgecomb Fire Department, and Central Lincoln County Ambulance Service responded to the scene.
Traffic on River Road was detoured until 3 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 11.
LCSO Deputy Caleb Poirier is leading the investigation. Officer Corey Iles, of the Brunswick Police Department, is reconstructing the crash as part of the investigation.
Anyone who wishes to provide information regarding the events leading up to this event can also use LCSO’s LTIP line anonymously by texting the keyword LTIP and the information to 847411, according to the release.
On Wednesday afternoon, the pumpkin and memorial site was moved from Theater Street to the municipal parking lot near the boat launch. Damariscotta Town Manager Matt Lutkus said by email that the location will be used as a place for people to continue to express their sorrow through this Friday, Oct. 15.