Ryan Hersey, 28, of Enfield died Friday after being struck by a vehicle on the Union Street highway exit ramp in Bangor, according to Maine State Police. Credit: Courtesy of Rachael Follansbee

Ryan Hersey of Enfield, who died Friday after being hit by a car in Bangor, was a happy, fun-loving man who would go out of his way to help others in need, according to his family.

Sharon Jackson, Hersey’s grandmother, said he loved going hunting and boating on Thompson Lake, where Jackson lives, but also had a passion for cooking and writing poetry.

“He was so happy-go-lucky and had a beautiful smile,” Jackson said. “He was a fun-loving person and would do anything for anybody. He loved life and loved people.”

Hersey, 28, grew up in Millinocket with one half-brother, one half-sister and three stepsisters. He graduated from Stearns High School in 2012 and worked as a roofing and carpentry contractor, Jackson said.

Though she loved each day with Hersey, her first grandchild, “since the day he was born,” Jackson said her favorite memory with him is when she took him to Walt Disney World when he was 10.

“That was a wonderful week of memories,” she said. “When he was younger, he’d spend a week or two with me every year. We were very close.”

Bret Jackson, Hersey’s uncle, who spent many summers and holidays with him, said he thought of Hersey as a younger brother due to the 10-year age difference.

“I loved it because I was the youngest of four siblings, and I always wanted a younger sibling,” Bret Jackson said. “Ryan was one of my all time favorite people I’ve ever known, and I’ll cherish the time we spent together.”

Aside from being an optimistic person who people gravitated to, Sharon Jackson said her grandson was especially compassionate who was always looking for ways to help others.

“In the winter he’d shovel his neighbors’ walkways for them who couldn’t shovel themselves and didn’t have the money to pay anyone,” she said. “All someone had to do was say he needed help and he was there.”

Rachael Follansbee, Hersey’s aunt, agreed, adding her nephew was “easy to love” and always willing to help someone in need.

“He was very outgoing and would always put his family first,” Follansbee said. “Just an all around great person.”

Hersey is the 18th pedestrian killed after being struck by a vehicle this year in Maine, according to the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety. This tops the 17 pedestrians who were killed by vehicles in Maine last year.  

He was struck by a vehicle driven by 36-year-old Tracy Pelletier on the Union Street Interstate 95 exit ramp in Bangor on Friday evening, according to Shannon Moss, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Hersey was taken to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where he died from his injuries, Moss said.

The incident is still under investigation, but police believe Hersey ran out of gas and left his vehicle to walk to Union Street. He was wearing a dark sweatshirt with the hood pulled up at the time, Moss said.

Hersey’s family established a GoFundMe online fundraiser to cover his medical and funeral expenses, Follansbee said, because he was self-employed and didn’t have life insurance. Some 100 people had donated more than $9,000 as of Monday afternoon.

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Kathleen O'Brien

Kathleen O'Brien is a reporter covering the Bangor area. Born and raised in Portland, she joined the Bangor Daily News in 2022 after working as a Bath-area reporter at The Times Record. She graduated from...