June 20, 2018
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Parts of Maine see nearly a foot of snow

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Mainers spent much of Wednesday digging out from a storm that dumped nearly a foot of snow in some spots, with the highest accumulations in Hancock, Penobscot and Washington counties.

The storm, which began Tuesday and lasted well into Wednesday, left at least one Mainer dead and three others injured.

On Wednesday, police in Searsport released the name of the man who died the day before in a five-car pileup on U.S. Route 1. Searsport Police Chief Richard LaHaye identified the deceased as Thomas Marsden, 53, of Scarborough.

LaHaye said a Searsport couple suffered serious injuries in the accident, which occurred a little before 12:30 p.m. at the Searsport-Belfast town line. Richard and Lois Pelczar were taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor after initial treatment at Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast.

Searsport police Officer Jessica Danielson said Wednesday that the Pelczars were critically injured in the crash. By Wednesday afternoon, however, their conditions had been upgraded to fair, according to an official at EMMC.

Danielson said emergency crews used extrication equipment to cut the injured out of their vehicles. The Pelczars were driving a Dodge Caravan, and Marsden was driving a Mercury Grand Marquis.

Others involved in the crash were Armand Cookson, 62, of Farmingdale, who was driving a Suzuki Forenza; James Rose, 69, of Searsport, who was driving a Mitsubishi pickup truck; and Jolanta Kellock, 58, of Searsport, who was driving a Mercury Mountaineer. None of the three was taken to the hospital, Danielson said.

LaHaye was working with the Maine State Police on the accident report, which was not yet ready to be released, Danielson said Wednesday afternoon. Trooper Aaron Turcotte, a state police accident reconstructionist, arrived at the scene Tuesday afternoon to map it “forensically,” Danielson said.The slick roads combined with a hill on Route 9 near the border of Penobscot and Hancock counties were blamed for a two-vehicle crash that sent both drivers and a 2-year-old boy to EMMC.

“Mom and child are still in the hospital,” Sgt. Bill Birch of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday afternoon.

The collision happened when Aldrice Savoie, 69, of New Brunswick was heading east toward Calais in a 2009 Chevy van and spun out of control in front of Ashley McLean, 22, who was traveling with her son toward Bangor in a 2009 Mazda.

“The van was traveling Route 9 up the steep hill and he lost control and started to spin and spun into the vehicle driven by McLean,” Birch said. “They basically hit head-on.” All three were take to EMMC, he said.

The toddler was in a car seat, Birch said, but “at the time they were being transported, the juvenile was pretty seriously hurt.” He said both mother and child remained hospitalized Wednesday night. An EMMC official said the hospital had no information to provide on their conditions.

Savoie was treated and released Tuesday, Birch said Wednesday evening as he headed to another accident at the same location in Clifton. He said a tractor-trailer had jackknifed on the hill, but Birch had no other information.

In all, there were 51 accidents in Penobscot County between 4 p.m. Tuesday and 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Penobscot Regional Communications Center incident summary report. Only two were listed as personal injury accidents.

In Bangor, police responded to 14 accident reports during the same time period and Brewer officers responded to five, according to the log.

According to snow accumulation statistics compiled by the National Weather Service’s Caribou office, the Hancock County towns of Eastbrook and Waltham received the most snow, with a respective 11.5 and 9.8 inches. Several other communities saw 7 inches or more.

Washington County, which also was slammed hard by the storm, had several communities with 8 or more inches of snow, Columbia Falls, Cherryfield and Wesley among them. In Penobscot County, the NWS reported accumulations of 8 inches in Orono and 7 inches in Corinth, with several other municipalities, including En-field, Lakeville, Bangor and Mount Chase, seeing 4 inches or more.

Because of the heavy snowfall, students at many public schools, as well as universities and community colleges, had an unscheduled day off. Also canceled were numerous meetings and classes, as well as events planned by churches and charitable organizations.

The snow also prompted closure of several government offices and courts.

By late Wednesday, the storm was winding down. The NWS forecast for eastern and northern Maine said the skies would clear up overnight, bringing mostly sunny weather today through Sunday night.

BDN writers Abigail Curtis and Nok-Noi Ricker contributed to this report.

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