WALDOBORO, Maine — A Waldoboro man died Thursday and two other men were critically injured in a fiery car accident on Route 235.
Harold Benner, 63, died at the scene, according to Detective Lance Mitchell of the Waldoboro Police Department.
Benner was driving a 2000 Jeep north at about 4 p.m. Thursday when a truck apparently crossed the centerline and hit Benner’s vehicle head-on, Mitchell said.
The 1965 Ford truck was driven by Steven Kaler, 43, of Warren. Robert Colpritt, 33, of Rockland was the only passenger.
Speed is believed to have been a factor in the crash.
“It was pretty bad,” Mitchell said.
First responders on the scene were faced with a troubling predicament: Benner was dead but pinned in his Jeep, and Kaler and Colpritt were trapped in the truck, which was on fire.
Emergency crews used fire extinguishers on Kaler and Colpritt, Mitchell said.
At one point, about 25 emergency workers were at the scene, he said, including crews from Waldoboro EMS, Waldoboro Fire, Waldoboro Police Department, Warren EMS, Central Lincoln County Ambulance and the Maine State Police.
Route 235 was blocked for more than three hours, he said.
The speed limit on Route 235 was 45, and Benner was “driving normally,” Mitchell said. Maine State Police are reconstructing the accident to determine, in part, how fast Kaler was driving.
Kaler was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland in critical condition, Mitchell said. Colpritt initially was taken to Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta, but later was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Maine Medical Center, also in critical condition.
The men suffered internal injuries, broken bones and burns, Mitchell said.
A hospital spokesperson said the two remained in critical condition Friday afternoon.
Mitchell said he didn’t think the 1965 Ford truck had seat belts.
No charges have been filed, he said, but were possible, depending on the outcome of the state police investigation.
Blood alcohol tests were done for the investigation, which Mitchell described as “protocol.”
“We don’t know whether alcohol was a factor or not,” he said.