The home of David Morin, 71, of Madawaska shows damage where a van crashed into it March 25. Both Morin and the driver, Shawn Cote, died as a result of the crash. Credit: Jessica Potila / St. John Valley Times

MADAWASKA, Maine — The man who was killed by a van crashing into his living room often ate breakfast at a local restaurant with the driver, a business owner said Monday.

David Morin, 71, died Saturday when a van driven by Shawn Cote, 47, crashed into Morin’s house while he sat in his living room, according to Madawaska Police Chief Ross DuBois. Cote also died. 

Morin’s house sits atop a steep hill at the intersection of 19th Avenue and Bellevue Street, overlooking the town he was so dedicated to for many years. The fatal crash was the talk of Madawaska and beyond on Monday. 

Residents remembered Morin as a businessman who contributed much to the community, while they recalled Cote as quiet and unassuming. There still weren’t many answers to questions about what happened.

Morin served two terms on the Madawaska Select Board but primarily ran his own electrical business, Morin Electric Inc., for 44 years. He also owned the contracting company Acadian Builders. Cote worked for Morin at Acadian Builders, said Helen Fortin, the owner of Chez Helen, a restaurant in the town where the men often dined together.

“He loved French toast and one strip of bacon,” Fortin said of Morin. “He will be missed. It’s so sad.”

Maine State Police are investigating the crash, spokesperson Shannon Moss said Monday. The bodies were taken to the state medical examiner in Augusta, where autopsies will positively identify the men and determine causes of death.

Morin’s death was felt not only by those close to him but also in town government. Family members were not able to be reached for comment Monday.

Morin was a fiscal conservative on a progressive board and contributed a lot of sound business thinking when he was on the Select Board, said Ryan D. Pelletier, Aroostook County’s administrator and the former Madawaska town manager. 

He said the capital infrastructure plan the town uses to pave roads was Morin’s idea. Pelletier did not know Cote.

Whenever Morin visited the town office, he enjoyed talking about and showing pictures of his family, Nathalie Morneault, Madawaska’s town clerk, said.

“It will be quite a hit to the town,” she said.

Fort Kent educator Lori-Ann Saucier met Morin in 2017 when she rented a house from him. He helped her with the difficult decision to move out of her family home and allowed her to keep her pet. Morin would pop in from time to time to see if she needed anything, she said.

“He was a caring man with empathy, compassion and a brilliant mind for business,” she said. “The world was better because he was in it.”

BDN writers Judy Harrison and Paula Brewer contributed to this report.