News Feature

Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, September 21, 2023
Fatal motorcycle accident in Stonington
Road closure leaves town cut off for hours

by Will Robinson

According to a Hancock County Sheriff’s report, Deer Isle resident Lionel J. Nault, 30, was riding his motorcycle south on Burnt Cove Road at around 1:05 p.m. on Sunday, September 17. As he crested a hill, he swerved to avoid a utility truck doing power line inspections. Nault lost control of his motorcycle and was fatally injured. First responders pronounced him “deceased at the scene.”

Ivonne Guerrero, 31, from Hamilton, Ohio, is listed in the report as the operator of the utility truck. He sustained no injuries.

Members of the Stonington, Deer Isle and Sedgwick fire departments and the Memorial Ambulance Corps responded to the situation. The accident occurred about one mile south of the Stonington town line. Stonington Fire Chief Steve Rittmeyer said the southern half of Route 15A, from Sunset Crossroad to the scene, “was closed for a long period of time while the Sheriffs investigated the accident.”

While traffic resumed to the north side of the Island at about 7:30, Rittmeyer said all access in and out of Stonington was closed for about eight hours. Deer Isle Fire Chief Brent Morey said he heard some people got home by walking across the foot bridge at the Holt Mill Pond bridge construction site and getting rides from relatives or friends on the other side.

Morey said the road closure presented a “very unique scenario” for emergency responders, some of whom were on one side or the other of the accident when the call came in.

“For a short while there we didn’t comprehend that we didn’t have access to that part of the Island,” he said.

Despite the unusual nature of the call, Morey said the situation was “pretty cut and dry.” All calls are responded to by the Deer Isle, Stonington and Sedgwick fire departments to ensure enough equipment and personnel are on site, he said.

“The biggest issue is the timing,” he explained. If either fire department needs to reach a call on the other side of the bridge, Morey said it takes them longer to go around the detour.

Chief Rittmeyer said the Holt Mill Pond bridge construction is certainly a “huge factor” in emergency response, but clarified that there are a number of places on the island that only have one access point.

“Part of the gig of emergency response is having everything be a new situation—it’s all a puzzle to be solved,” he said.