Collision closes Route 89 for hours

Posted Aug. 28, 2009, at 1:44 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:43 a.m.

CARIBOU, Maine — Police said that a spectacular accident that closed down Route 89 in Caribou for seven hours Thursday “could have been much worse.”

The accident took place just after 9 a.m. Thursday.

Caribou police Officer Doug Bell said Thursday evening that Stephen Levesque, 40, of Mars Hill, was southbound on Route 89 into Caribou in his 1989 Ford tractor-trailer, hauling a full load of wood chips when the accident occurred.

Bell said Floyd Parker, 81, who was driving a 1998 Ford Ranger, pulled out of Limestone Street onto Route 89 right into the truck’s path.

Levesque tried several evasive tactics to avoid the crash and then to avoid hitting as much of Parker’s vehicle as possible, the officer said. The tractor-trailer ended up striking the back of the Ranger, sending it into a spin, Bell said.

The pickup eventually stopped in the roadway, but the tractor-trailer rammed through a guardrail and careened about 65 feet down an embankment before ending up on its side, partially submerged in a small pond, according to the officer. The driver was able to climb out on his own.

Both drivers were wearing seat belts and were uninjured, Bell said.

Both vehicles were destroyed and the guardrail had to be replaced.

Some fuel spilled, but it was quickly contained, Bell said.

The Environmental Protection Agency was called to the scene as well as the state Department of Transportation. Several police agencies and other emergency crews were on the scene throughout the day.

The road was closed for seven hours and traffic was rerouted until the vehicles could be removed.

The investigation is ongoing, and Bell said he was not sure if charges would be filed.

Bell surmised that Levesque’s evasive actions likely saved Parker’s life.

“It could have been much worse,” he said.

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