Medical emergency suspected cause of South Portland fatal crash

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Despite efforts by good Samaritans and a police officer, a 74-year-old South Portland man died after his vehicle struck a tree on Broadway Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 30. 

Police believe Robert James, of South Portland, suffered a medical emergency that caused his vehicle to leave the road at 1319 Broadway, according to Lt. Frank Clark, who said the crash was called in at about 12:20 p.m. 

Clark said the state medical examiner was scheduled to perform an autopsy to determine James’ cause of death. He said a medical emergency is considered a probable cause of the collision because there was no indication James attempted to brake as the car left the road, and the driver was in cardiac arrest when first-responders arrived. There were no other occupants in the vehicle. 

Police Officer Steve Connors performed CPR with the assistance of two witnesses who had medical experience, Clark said. An automated external defibrillator was used to try to revive Roberts, but was unsuccessful.

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