TOWNSHIP 31, Maine — The Shead High School boys baseball team received a jolt late Tuesday night when the bus they were riding in was struck by an inattentive moose.
The accident happened at 11:45 p.m. on Route 9 near Pembroke Stream. Ten people were onboard the school bus including the driver, team members and others.
School Union 104 Superintendent Terry Lux said Wednesday that the team was returning to Eastport from the Eastern Maine Class D final game they had just played at the Mansfield Stadium in Bangor when the accident occurred.
Team members Wednesday had lots to talk about because, in addition to the moose mishap, they lost that game in the 10th inning to Deer Isle-Stonington. The score was 9-7.
“It was a heartbreaker,” Lux said.
Sgt. Tim Tabbutt of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday that the cow moose just ran out of the woods and into the side of the bus and its head struck the windshield.
The moose died at the scene.
Moose-vehicle accidents are common on the eastern leg of Route 9, also known as The Airline. The long stretch of road has no streetlights and, except for the bus’s lights, the road was pitch black at that time of night. Moose, with their dark coats, are particularly hard to see. In addition, pesky bugs have forced moose to flee the woods.
“Moose typically are active this time of year and are on the move,” Deborah Turcotte, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said Wednesday night. “Yearlings are finding their way, and bugs may send some moose out of the woods. Motorists are encouraged to be on the lookout for moose, to drive at reasonable speeds in areas where moose are known to venture, and be prepared to stop.”
A passer-by called in the accident.
Tabbutt said there was minimal damage to the bus. “The bus was driveable,” he said.
Lux agreed. She said that the windshield on the bus was broken and there were dents to the body.
“We don’t think there is anything wrong with the motor. It seems to be all right,” she said.