Update: The Maine Warden Service released details on Penobscot County Deputy Sheriff Bobbie Pelletier’s death on Friday evening. See story.
The Maine Warden Service has not disclosed any details surrounding Sunday’s fatal snowmobile crash of Penobscot County Deputy Sheriff Bobbie Pelletier, an unusual delay for an agency that’s typically prompt to release information about such investigations.
To date, the only information about the crash has come from the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office, the agency for which Pelletier worked, which is based more than 100 miles from where the deputy’s off-duty crash happened. The office has said only that Pelletier died in a snowmobiling accident in Limestone.
The lack of information from the warden service stands out because of the speed with which it has released details on other fatal crashes and hunting mishaps it has investigated.
Pelletier was honored Thursday afternoon in a memorial service. Those who worked with him in Hermon, where he patrolled, remembered Pelletier for his infectious laugh and genuine concern for community members.
The Bangor Daily News has left several voice messages, emails and submitted a formal records request for the Maine Warden Service crash report in the days since Pelletier’s death. The agency has acknowledged its receipt of the BDN’s records request, but hasn’t released any information. It’s rare for the media to even have to make a public records request for such information.
On Jan. 22, the warden service sent a press release on a fatal snowmobile crash in Harrison involving a Naples man, including the man’s name, age and the circumstances surrounding the crash, less than seven hours after it happened.
This past fall, the warden service released details on a fatal ATV crash in Madrid that killed a Connecticut man within seven hours. The agency issued the press release just before 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 27, which included the driver’s name, age and details on the crash.
The same day, the Maine Warden Service issued a release less than three hours after a woman was shot by a turkey hunter in Leeds.
And on Aug. 2, 2020, the agency issued a press release detailing a fatal ATV crash, the rescue of a stranded hiker, the rescue of multiple kayakers and wardens’ response to a number of other ATV crashes that resulted in injuries — all of which had occurred within the previous 24 hours.
A review of other Maine Warden Service press releases on earlier snowmobile crashes and other mishaps confirms the agency rarely waits more than a day to release information to the public.
Other law enforcement agencies also typically release information on fatal crashes within a day, if not hours, of them happening.
The Maine Warden Service’s usual media contact — Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Communication Director Mark Latti — was out of the office for the first three days this week. However, Latti directed reporters to call the Augusta State Police dispatch center to seek information in his absence. Dispatchers were to refer reporters to the Maine Warden Service Officer of the Day.