Christopher Williams, Staff Writer
AUBURN — A Lisbon couple is suing the family of a 25-year-old Windsor man who died while participating in the 2017 Toy Run on Interstate 95 from injuries authorities say he sustained in the crash he reportedly caused.
That crash on the highway’s northbound lanes in Augusta also injured Torri A. McGraw and Trevor T. Proctor of Lisbon, who were riding a 1992 Harley-Davidson motorcycle that day in the Toy Run caravan. They were taken to a nearby hospital with “road rash,” according to published reports.
The civil complaint filed Thursday in Androscoggin County Superior Court says Aaron White-Sevigny was riding a 2007 Harley-Davidson in the group that included more than 1,000 riders participating in the annual United Bikers of Maine Toy Run.
He was riding ahead of McGraw and Proctor, according to the complaint.
“White-Sevigny attempted to merge into the passing lane, cutting off a vehicle driven by William Nusom,” the complaint says. “Nusom attempted to take evasive action and veered left into the guardrail on the left-hand side before veering right back into the lane of travel, striking several motorcycles in the process.”
The collision between the motorcycle driven by White-Sevigny and Nusom’s pickup truck “caused all traffic to come suddenly to a stop and caused a chain-reaction that caused McGraw and Proctor to be struck from behind by an unknown ‘phantom’ motorcyclist.”
The Lisbon couple suffered “serious” injuries because of those events, the complaint says.
The complaint argues that White-Sevigny was negligent for “failing to yield the right-of-way, failing to see what was there to be seen, making an improper turn and failing to keep his vehicle under control.”
The couple also named the United Bikers of Maine in their lawsuit, saying the group, as organizers of the Toy Run that resulted in the crash, “chose to direct the caravan route onto Interstate 95 in Augusta without implementing any safety procedures, warning caravan participants and without providing adequate safeguards to protect caravan participants and the community in order to prevent needless harm, injury or death.”
The complaint says that McGraw’s and Proctor’s serious injuries were a result of the group’s negligence.
White-Sevigny was pronounced dead at the hospital he was taken to from the scene. A second biker, killed at the scene, was Jamie Gross, 58, of Belmont.
Gross had initially been blamed for the chain reaction by Maine State Police, who later changed their assessment after speaking with more witnesses and further examining the motorcycles involved.
The motorcyclists had gathered at the Augusta Civic Center, then rode as a group bound for the Windsor Fairgrounds, headed north on the interstate between exits 112 and 113.
Nusom, 67, of Hollis was driving a full-size pickup truck with his 99-year-old mother, Anna, as passenger. Both were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
Published reports said Nusom’s truck was in the passing lane while the motorcycles were in the travel lane. Police said Nusom steered into the median guardrail in an effort to avoid striking a motorcycle that had veered into his lane. He lost control of the truck, which traveled back across three northbound lanes and struck other motorcycles participating in the caravan, then rolled over on its side.
Sandy Lyle, a spokesman for the United Bikers of Maine, said Friday the group had no comment on the lawsuit.