April 27, 2018
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Snowfall brings rash of accidents across state

Mike Cole of Exeter watches Doug Sinclair (not pictured) of Hermon-based Sinclair Towing as Sinclair pulls his wife's Jeep Cherokee from an embankment off I-95 northbound, just south of Route 69 in Newburgh after Cole's wife, Christina Cole, lost control of the S.U.V. on her way to Orono during Monday morning's snowy conditions. Mike Cole drove from their home to pick her up. No one was injured. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Northern and eastern Maine escaped the brunt of a storm that hit Maine early Monday, dumping snow as far north as the Jackman area but leaving points farther north untouched.

Snowfall totals issued by the National Weather Service offices in Caribou and Gray indicated that some parts of the state — mostly in the southern and coastal areas — received between 6 inches and a foot of snow, with North Waterboro reporting 14 inches.

Amounts dropped as the storm moved north into Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Washington counties, the NWS totals showed.

Bar Harbor and Southwest Harbor wound up with about 5 inches, several communities in Greater Bangor saw nearly 4 inches, Piscataquis county towns saw as much as 2 inches and Washington County had from 1.5 to 2.5 inches.

Because the snow resulted in slushy, slippery road conditions, police and other public safety personnel remained busy responding to dozens of motor vehicle accidents, including one in Rockport that sent three people to a local hospital and another in Fayette in which one person was hurt.

The Rockport crash occurred just after 2 p.m., Rockport Patrolman Dana Smith said, after Kay Warren, 67, of Rockport lost control of her 2003 Cadillac on slush-covered Route 1, about half a mile away from Penobscot Bay Medical Center.

Smith said that Warren’s car, which was heading north, slid into the path of southbound Camden motorist William Conrad Jr., 66. Despite both drivers’ attempts to avoid a collision, Conrad’s 2009 Honda CRV struck Warren’s car, pushing her passenger side door well into the passenger’s seat.

“Fortunately and luckily, no one was in the passenger’s seat,” the officer said, adding that the outcome likely would not have been good.

The two drivers, as well as Conrad’s wife, Janet Conrad, 63, were taken to Pen Bay for treatment of injuries, though Smith said none of the injuries was considered life-threatening.

The accident in Fayette occurred about 5:15 a.m., according to state police Trooper Samuel Tlumac.

Seth Robertson, 22, of Livermore Falls was driving his pickup east on Route 17, when he came around a corner, lost control of his truck and slid into the path of a tractor-trailer driven by Norman Thompson, 59, of Fayette. Thompson reportedly was making a turn from Chesterville Ridge Road onto Route 17 when the pickup slid underneath his trailer.

Robertson was taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston for treatment of an injury that was not considered life-threatening.

Motorists involved in other crashes were luckier.

Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said city police handled 10 storm-related motor vehicle accidents, three of which resulted in minor injury, between 5:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Monday. He said the injuries from the three accidents were limited to complaints of pain.

Mike Azevedo, a supervisor at the Penobscot Regional Communications Center in Bangor, said the snow began to fall in Penobscot County shortly after 2 a.m., keeping county dispatchers busy until late afternoon.

During that period, he said, Penobscot County saw a total of 32 accidents, six of which resulted in minor injury.

“That’s not a whole lot,” he said, adding that the countywide total included accidents that occurred within Bangor city limits.

In addition, state police dispatchers from the Orono barracks said troopers responded to reports of numerous accidents, including a rollover at 11:40 a.m. in the northbound traveling lanes of Interstate 95 and another one about 1:50 p.m. in the westbound lanes of Interstate 395 near the Route 202 exit.

Police in Washington and Hancock counties said there were several vehicle accidents on snowy roads throughout the counties Monday, including several that injured motorists. Some of those injured were taken to local hospitals, but none of the injuries was considered serious.

An emergency dispatcher in Waldo reported a similar scene, estimating that there had been a dozen minor accidents, but no serious injuries.

As some drivers slid off the road, many skiers took advantage of the fresh snow and the holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. to schuss down the slopes.

“We had a great day,” said Dan Labrie, risk manager at Lost Valley Ski Area in Auburn. “We had 8-plus inches out here today — so let it come. Let it keep coming.”

According to Jim Hayes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, another 3 to 5 inches is expected between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, with a couple more inches on the way Wednesday night.

Monday’s storm brought snow totals closer to normal averages for this time of year, Hayes said. Although last year at this time, the snow total in Portland was 47 inches — compared to 30 inches so far this season — 2009 totals were above average across the board.

“This year, we’re right about where we should be,” Hayes said. “We’ve caught up with this storm.”

BDN writers Nok-Noi Ricker in Bangor and Rich Hewitt in Ellsworth and writers Craig Crosby of the Kennebec Journal and Andie Hannon of the Lewiston Sun Journal contributed to this report.

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