An Orland man suffered serious injuries Thursday morning when the pickup truck he was driving left Route 15 in Orrington and smashed full speed into a maple tree in front of the historic Wiswell Farm.
Troy Frye, 41 of Orland apparently fell asleep at the wheel of his 2003 Toyota truck, according to Deputy William Gardner of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department. Gardner was driving in his cruiser directly in front of Frye’s vehicle when the accident occurred.
“I believe it went airborne,” Gardner said. “The operator never hit the brakes at all.” Gardner, who was southbound at the posted speed of 35 mph along the heavily traveled road, said he had noticed the pickup gaining on him in the rearview mirror.
“At first I thought he was going to try to pass me on the right,” he said. “But then he just left the road and hit the tree really hard.”
Henry Wiswell, owner of Wiswell Farm, was in his office when the accident happened.
“I heard this awful crash and I went out to see what happened,” he said.
Wiswell on Thursday pointed out the spot where Frye’s truck apparently drove off the right shoulder, passed narrowly between a utility pole and a fence, hit a depression and traveled several feet through the air before hitting the 20-year-old maple. The tree was knocked sideways by the impact and lost much of the bark off the lower trunk.
“I’m pretty sure that maple’s going to have to come down,” Wiswell said, surveying the damage.
Gardner said Frye suffered “extensive injuries” to his legs and was passing in and out of consciousness at the scene. Frye was wearing a seat belt and the truck’s air bag had deployed. The truck was demolished. There was no sign of alcohol or other intoxicants at the scene, Gardner said, and no charges have been filed.
While serious, Frye’s injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, Gardner said.
Emergency crews from Brewer and Orrington went to the scene. Frye was taken by ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
An EMMC supervisor said Thursday afternoon that Frye was in fair condition.