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Wrong-way crash kills Wareham man

By Derek J. Anderson
Globe Correspondent / June 18, 2012
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Christopher Elicier left his Wareham home at 10 p.m. Saturday just as he did for the past 22 years for every one of his night shifts at the Taunton State Hospital.

But on Saturday, he never arrived.

Elicier’s vehicle was hit head-on by another driving the wrong way on Interstate 495 in Wareham late Saturday night, killing Elicier and critically injuring the wrong-way driver, according to State Police.

“We got a call from a friend that he works with that he hadn’t arrived yet,” said Patricia Cullen, 75, Elicier’s mother-in-law.

She said Elicier’s wife, Cathleen, thought his car may have broken down and left to retrace his steps. She came upon the crash, and state troopers explained the situation, Cullen said in a phone interview Sunday evening.

Phendy Pamphile, 26, of Brockton, was driving the wrong way on the northbound side of the highway, when he crashed into Elicier, 43, around 10:20 p.m. Saturday, State Police said.

Elicier was ejected from his 2012 Hyundai Veloster coupe and was pronounced dead at the scene, State Police said.

Pamphile was trapped in his 2007 Lexus IS200 sedan after the collision, and the Jaws of Life were required to remove him from his vehicle.

He was taken to Tobey Hospital in Wareham for a serious leg injury but was later moved to Rhode Island Hospital by medical helicopter, said State Police.

Pamphile was listed in critical condition as of Sunday afternoon, according to Rhode Island Hospital.

State Police said that neither driver was wearing a seat belt.

An investigation is being conducted to determine why Pamphile was driving his car in the wrong direction. State Police said there is no indication that alcohol was involved, but it has not been ruled out as factor in the crash.

After authorities conclude the investigation, a decision will be made on whether any charges will be filed against Pamphile, a State Police spokesman said.

After the crash, authorities shut down the entire interstate between Exits 1 and 2 until 1:45 a.m. Sunday .

Cullen said that Elicier was liked in the community.

“He was always helping people who needed help,” she said of her son-in-law. “He loved fishing, it was one of his favorite past times. He recently took up photography. He was wonderful.

“I’m paralyzed from back surgery. Chris helped take care of me. He’d make my breakfast and give me my pills and help get me out of bed and so forth.”

Cullen said her daughter was married to Elicier for 19 years and that they were high school sweethearts.

The couple has two sons, Jordan, 15, and Ryan, 6.

Cullen said that the family was in the middle of making arrangements for Elicier.

“It’s a tremendous loss,” she said. “He was a wonderful son-in-law. He was a wonderful father and husband.”

Derek J. Anderson can be reached at derek.anderson@globe.com.

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