Driver loses brakes, prevents injuries by avoiding traffic

Posted July 20, 2010, at 11:20 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:08 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A “good job” by a truck driver who lost his brakes on Bridge Hill on Tuesday afternoon resulted in some property damage but no injuries.

According to Officer Christopher Smith of the Ellsworth Police Department, Jonathan Lechuga, 21, of Purvis, Miss., a driver for Merrill’s Blueberry Farms, was headed north on Route 1 (Bucksport Road) when he lost the brakes on the truck.

When he realized he had lost the brakes, Smith said, Lechuga sounded the horn and turned on the hazard lights. He made the sharp left turn onto Main Street and saw traffic backed up at the light at the bottom of the hill.

He was pumping the brakes the whole time, Smith said.

When Lechuga reached the bottom of the hill, he swerved the truck to the left toward the sidewalk, hoping the hydrant there would stop the truck. It didn’t. The truck hit the curb and the hydrant, which pulled the front tire off its rim, then hit the side of the Hale and Hamlin building on the corner. It then swerved onto State Street where it struck a Ford pickup truck driven by Darlene Springer, 47, of Ellsworth.

No one was injured.

“He did a great job,” Smith said. “He made sure no one was injured.”

Smith estimated damage to Lechuga’s truck at $8,500; to the hydrant, about $4,500; to Springer’s truck, $1,800; and to the building, about $4,000, including a broken window and damage to bricks and the granite sill.

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