Cruiser crunched amid compound construction zone crashes

By Darcie Moore, Times Record
Posted March 25, 2011, at 6:01 p.m.

TOPSHAM, Maine  — Topsham police stayed busy Wednesday responding to crashes allegedly caused by drivers not heeding construction zone caution signs on Route 196.

Topsham police Officer Randy Cook said he and Officer William Collins investigated a crash on Route 196 at about 12:55 p.m. while a crew from the Maine Department of Transportation worked in the area.

According to the report, Cyndee M. Stacy, 54, of Durham was stopped in her 2003 Volvo in traffic facing south on Route 196. A 2004 Ford pickup truck driven by Scott M. Stevens, 56, of Lisbon Falls was following behind Stacy heading south. Because of a combination of alleged operator inattention and speed, Stevens did not see Stacy and couldn’t stop in time to avoid a collision.

Stevens struck Stacy’s vehicle and continued on to hit a utility pole, snapping it. Stacy was not injured but Stevens was taken to Parkview Adventist Medical Center in Brunswick for complaints of pain.

Cook said that while he and Collins were at this crash scene, a woman driving a Subaru Forester station wagon east on Route 196 from Lisbon approaching the construction scene was involved in a second crash that involved a police cruiser. The Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Department was called to investigate the cruiser-related incident.

According to Sagadahoc County Chief Deputy Brett Strout, Sgt. Dale Hamilton was called at about 2:13 p.m. to cover the second crash.

Cook, who saw the second crash, said the MDOT flaggers had stopped traffic. A 2007 Chevy K 2500 pickup truck driving by Roger D. Brault Jr., 25, of Greene was hauling a homemade trailer behind his truck and had completely stopped for the flagger.

Lauren Confer, 56, of Bath, driving a 2009 Subaru Forester owned by Elmhurst Inc. of Bath, said she knew she was coming to a construction site, but didn’t slow down soon enough and hit the trailer behind Brault’s truck. Confer said she didn’t know what happened and may have blacked out, Cook said. After hitting the trailer, Confer’s vehicle careened across a lawn at 1121 Lewiston Road, hit the mailbox and went up the inclined lawn. Air bags deployed.

Cook and Collins drove the short distance to the new crash scene. Confer and four clients in the vehicle got out. Cook moved them away from the vehicle while Collins grabbed a fire extinguisher, because the car was smoking, and extinguished the fire.

Cook said Collins warned everyone then to get out of the way as the Subaru began rolling. It rolled down the inclined lawn and, making a loop, backed into the rear driver’s side door of Collins’ cruiser, also clipping the back fender.

No damage estimate for the cruiser was available Friday, but Cook estimated that repairs could cost a few thousand dollars. According to Hamilton’s report, the Subaru had about $6,000 in damage.

The impact of the Subaru hitting the trailer behind Brault’s pickup truck, Cook said, pushed the trailer hitch under the truck.

Lisbon and Topsham sent rescue crews, and one of the ambulances took Confer and the four clients to a hospital to be evaluated. No one suffered serious injuries, according to Cook.

A new link in the chain of road mishaps occurred at about 2:30 p.m., according to Strout, when the Sheriff’s Department received a report of a two-vehicle crash with minimal damage at the intersection of Route 196 and Route 201. A car that pulled over for an emergency vehicle going to the crash scene on Route 196 was rear-ended by a second vehicle.

As of Friday morning, Cook said no charges had been filed. By the time the telephone pole was replaced and power, phone and cable wires restored, it was about 5:30 p.m.

Cook cautioned drivers to slow down when they approach a construction site, and to pay attention to warning signs.

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http://bangordailynews.com/2011/03/25/news/portland/cruiser-crunched-amid-compound-construction-zone-crashes/ printed on July 29, 2014