Driver faces 2 felonies in death of pedestrian in South Portland

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Visiting hours for a South Portland High School alumnus killed by an alleged drunken driver will be held Saturday, July 8, in Buxton.

Police said Joseph LePage, 24, was struck and killed by a car driven by Kristen Hodak, of Arundel, just after midnight on July 2. LePage was walking south on Cummings Road, near the rear entrance to the Target shopping center, when he was hit.

Hodak initially fled, according to police; her disabled vehicle was found about 2 miles away. She called friends and received a ride to their home, but later returned to the accident scene, police said.

Hodak was charged with two felonies: operating under the influence and causing the death of another, a Class B crime, and failing to stop for an accident resulting in death, a Class C crime.

She was taken to Cumberland County Jail in Portland, and released on bail.

On his Facebook page, LePage’s father, Lee, who lives in Hollis, said, “No one should ever have to feel this much pain. I feel like my heart has been torn out and shredded.”

LePage described his son as “a wonderful, gentle man with a kind heart and a gentle soul” and said “we never thought we would be planning a funeral for him at the age of 24.”

In a published obituary, Joseph LePage was honored for his love of family.

“Spending time with family and friends was very important and enjoyable to Joe. He was a wonderful uncle and brother, always taking time to play with the children. He was intelligent, funny, and always had a witty comment to make everyone laugh.”

“Joe lived his life genuinely,” the obituary said. “He was a good hearted, honest man who touched many lives and will be greatly missed by all who were lucky enough to know him.”

Those wishing to pay their respects are invited to the visiting hours, which will take place from 3- 5 p.m. at the Chad E. Poitras Cremation and Funeral Service Chapel in Buxton.

Following visiting hours, a time of sharing will also be held. In addition, online condolences can be submitted to mainefuneral.com.

The LePage family has started a GoFundMe page to help raise approximately $6,000 for funeral expenses.

On the page, the family says, “At this time, the funeral expenses are more than we are able to sustain. We are asking for only the amount of the funeral and nothing more. We know times are rough . . . but anything would be a help.”

According to his obituary, LePage was born in Texas and graduated from South Portland High School in 2012. He was employed at Great Falls Marketing in Westbrook.

His obituary said LePage aspired to become a fantasy/science fiction writer and had been working on drafts for a book. “Joe (also) enjoyed music, especially metal, reading, writing, video games and movies,” according to the obituary.

LePage is survived by his parents, four siblings, a niece and nephew, as well as grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and “many friends,” his obituary said.

On his Facebook page, Lee LePage said, “I want to take a moment and thank everyone for the outpouring of love for Joe and our family. The emotional and physical support being offered is truly overwhelming. I had no idea Joe had touched so many people. All the friends and family support means more than you could ever know.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KirishCollins.

Joseph LePage was killed July 2 by a driver South Portland police allege was drunk.

Kristen Hodak, of Arundel, is charged in the death of Jospeh LePage, a South Portland High School alumnus.

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