FALMOUTH, Maine — Two people who died in a head-on crash on Interstate 295 in Falmouth on Monday are being remembered as passionate, decades-long educators.
Investigators determined a Toyota SUV driven by Nancy Ezhaya, 72, of Yarmouth, entered the I-295 Exit 10 northbound off-ramp traveling southbound and crashed head-on into a Honda SUV headed northbound.
The Honda SUV was reportedly operated by Allen Apblett, 61, and his wife, both of Oklahoma.
Ezhaya and Apblett were pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Apblett's wife, Natalie Menzies, 60, was brought to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where she was in "stable but critical condition," police said.
Ezhaya was an English Teacher at Bonny Eagle High School from 1973 until her retirement in 2011, MSAD 6 Superintendent Clay Gleason said in a statement. Gleason said Ezhaya was a "preeminent storyteller and had a great sense of humor."
Apblett served Oklahoma State University's chemistry department for more than 25 years, "cementing a legacy of scholarship and inspiring countless students," according to a statement from the university.
A Maine State Police spokesperson said an autopsy would be conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to "better [understand] what happened leading up to the crash and whether Ezhaya may or may not have experienced a medical issue."
Full statement from MSAD 6 Superintendent Clay Gleason:
"Nancy Ezhaya was an English Teacher at Bonny Eagle High School from 1973 until her retirement in 2011. She was highly regarded by colleagues and was very passionate about her job. Nancy cared deeply for her students and colleagues and was a true friend.
Nancy was committed to the success of all of her students. She was integral to bringing the concept of teaming to Bonny Eagle High School, a scheduling process by which groups of teacher teams work together with groups of students to build connections and foster student success. Though she taught many levels over the years, she loved working with freshman students, easing their transition into high school.
Nancy was also a generous colleague, willing to share her time and expertise. As a veteran teacher, she helped many teachers new to the profession successfully navigate their first years of teaching.
She never lost a pencil because she had her name written on all of them. Nancy was a preeminent story teller and had a great sense of humor. So much so that you could hear the same story many times yet it always made you laugh as though it was the first time you had heard it.
Nancy Ezhaya was a true teacher. She devoted her life to her vocation of being an educator. She was a champion of students as well as a leader of teachers. Her infectious laugh and quick wit were her hallmarks, in and out of the classroom.
On behalf of the Bonny Eagle Community I want to express condolences to the Ezhaya family, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all those involved in the tragic accident that took place on Monday, May 29th."
Full statement from Oklahoma State University
"The Cowboy family mourns the loss of Dr. Allen Apblett. He served the university’s chemistry department for over 25 years, cementing a legacy of scholarship and inspiring countless students. A distinguished fellow of the American Chemical Society, the National Academy of Inventors and the American Ceramic Society, Dr. Apblett was published over 100 times, holds multiple patents and awards and made lasting contributions to his field. The thoughts of the entire Cowboy family are with Dr. Apblett’s family at this time."