ORONO — An empty fuel tanker truck that left the road and crashed in a gully in the median of Interstate 95 early Friday morning after the driver apparently fell asleep, caused the roadway to be blocked later in the day for its removal.
“We needed both lanes to do that,” said Maine State Police Trooper Josh D’Angelo, after he climbed out of the ditch containing the mangled truck.
The silver and blue truck and oil tanker, driven by William Fitzherbert, 52, of Washburn, came to rest in between a bunch of trees, some broken, in the ravine.
“It would appear to us that he fell asleep,” said Sgt. Ted Millett of the Maine State Police. “There were no skid marks or indications” he tried to stop his truck.
He added, “The driver could not remember what happened.”
The southbound truck went off the roadway at around 4 a.m., and D’Angelo, who was the first officer to arrive at the crash scene, found the driver talking on his cell phone while sitting in the passenger seat of a small truck that stopped to help.
Fitzherbert, who was driving a John T. Noble truck, did not appear to be seriously injured, but he “was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center for an evaluation,” the trooper said.
“It’s a fuel truck and he was heading down from Caribou to the Cold Brook Road,” to Cold Brook Energy Inc., D’Angelo said. The oil tanker was empty so no oil was spilled.
Maine State Police blocked access to the highway just after 11 a.m. at its junction with Stillwater Avenue to allow a huge wrecker to get the damaged truck and fuel tanker out of the median. About an hour later, one lane was reopened to allow southbound traffic to flow.
“I would say it’s totaled,” Millett said. “I believe the axle separated from the truck.”