WASHINGTON, Maine — A Whitefield man died Tuesday morning in a car accident that may have been caused by a medical emergency, police officials said.
Police aren’t releasing the name of the 72-year-old man until they have notified his next of kin. His 1995 Buick LeSabre collided head-on with a second car at 9:59 a.m. on Route 17 near Linscott’s store, according to Trooper Jason Madore of the Maine State Police, who was the primary investigating officer at the scene.
“Witnesses [said] they saw the man slump over the steering wheel moments before the crash,” Madore said in a press release. “His car crossed the centerline of the road and struck the second car head-on.”
The second car — a 2004 Chevy Cavalier driven by 31-year-old Tiffany King of Freedom — was “crushed” in the accident, according to Madore.
“She tried to react and get out of the way but there was just no place to go,” Madore said.
A witness called 911 and the first state trooper arrived in about five minutes, he said.
The Whitefield man was pronounced dead at the scene, Madore said. Emergency crews toiled for about 20 minutes to get the man’s body out of the car, and for more than 15 minutes to cut King out of her vehicle using an extricating device. She was transported to Central Maine Medical Center by LifeFlight helicopter for precautionary reasons, Madore said.
“Given the amount of damage done to the vehicle, she was lucky to be blinking her eyes,” Madore said. “The front end was in the driver’s seat.”
King and her passenger, 28-year-old Darrell Mank of Freedom, were wearing seat belts and the car’s airbags deployed. Mank was taken by ambulance to Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport where he was treated and then released.
The Whitefield driver’s airbags deployed but he evidently was not wearing a seat belt, Madore said. Speed was “definitely not” a contributing factor in the accident.
Altogether about a dozen medical and fire personnel helped at the accident site.
“There’s getting to be more cars on the roads,” Madore said. “Obviously, take due regard for your own safety and watch out for the other person as well, because things do happen. And wear your safety belt.”